Tuesday, 28 July 2015 11:06

Brandi Carlile plays Thursday to a sold out Meijer Gardens

Written by  Tayler Keefer
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Brandi Carlile Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile
with special guest Anderson East
Thursday, July 30
@ Meijer Gardens
6:30 p.m.

Brandi Carlile just sounds cool. Her voice is steady, warm and has a little rasp that comes from years of working those vocal cords. Since hitting the music scene a decade ago in Seattle, she has since gigged across the country and was even named as an artist to watch by Rolling Stone. Thursday, July 30 she performs at Meijer Gardens.

Carlile, 34, has released six albums and in March her band’s first self-produced album hit stores. The Firewatcher’s Daughter LP is a powerful genre-bending folk record, complete with plenty of rock ‘n’ roll moments and masterful harmonies.

Here’s what she had to say to Revue:

You’re playing Thursday at Meijer Gardens, a unique setting here in Grand Rapids. What’s one of the most memorable venues you’ve played?

My best show ever was Red Rocks two summers ago. It had been my dream to play there since I was a little kid. We thought it was going to rain, but it poured. It was like a monsoon, harder than they've ever seen it rain there. They were going to cancel the show and I was devastated because you can't reschedule a Red Rocks show. At the very last minute the clouds parted and we were able to do it. I was supposed to be on at 9 p.m. and I went on at midnight. I played until about 2 o’clock in the morning. It was just one of the most transformative musical experiences of my life.

What are the best and worst parts of touring? And how is it bringing the kids on the road?

I don't know if I could tolerate touring without my wife and my daughter, but my favorite part of touring is definitely the shows. The lead up to the shows, the adrenaline rush into it – that's a really big deal for me. And then days off with my family and the twins and the kids, those are really great. The parts I like the least about touring are trying to find ways to sleep and eat enough. Also, when you wake up on the bus and it's still rolling and you've got three little kids running around and a stack of diapers on the table. That's not easy.

I hear you self-produced your last album, The Firewatcher’s Daughter – how was that?

The things that we've done in the past have definitely allowed us to do the things that we do now. We wouldn't have been able to create this album without the things we learned from previous crews. I don't know if producing is what an artist really does when they make their own album. I think they just make their own album without guidance. And that's what it felt like to me. I'm a bit of a born collaborator, so for me making albums in a way that's collaborative is very important.

What do you do when you’re not writing or performing music? I hear you have a charity organization.

Yeah, I have a foundation called the Looking Out Foundation, which we started in 2007. It's a campaign-based foundation where we get involved with the issues that we care about, see if we can elevate and assist in those situations, and then move on to the next. Right now we are doing the Fight the Fear campaign, where we're teaching young women and girls’ self-defense courses and self-empowerment to prevent sexual violence in our community.

Do you think that sort of philanthropy and outreach plays a role in your lyrics?

If you're a social justice person then you're a social justice person and you can't really shut that off when you're writing songs.

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