Questions for Brandi Carlile

A Northwest country star returns to the Seattle Symphony with a new album in tow.
Brangien Davis  |   November 2012   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Brandi Carlile

Seattle magazine: Your new album, Bear Creek, is named after the Woodinville studio where you recorded it—which has also recorded such bands as Foo Fighters, Built to Spill and Fleet Foxes. How did the setting affect the composition of the record?

BC: The surroundings at Bear Creek are super-rustic and mystical. The creek itself is really beautiful, and the environment is also strangely communal, with everyone sleeping in a loft like a summer camp. It influenced the record with its innocence and youthfulness. We chose the songs that we felt best summed up the Bear Creek experience and that best lyrically suited the last few years of our lives. [The band has] had a marriage, a baby, two engagements and I’ve turned 30 in this record’s time frame. We had a lot to reveal.

SM: You’ve had huge success performing with the Seattle Symphony before—2011’s Live at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony skyrocketed on the folk charts—and you’re back for more this month. Why do you think your music works so well with symphonic accompaniment?

BC: I’m really influenced by drama in music and really going all the way. Less is not more when it comes to music! The Seattle Symphony has such a regal presence....I can’t wait.

SM: What can the audience expect from the symphony shows?

BC: I’ll be making new charts for the Bear Creek songs and trying some new approaches to old songs. We’re doing the Sunday [11/25] show acoustic with the symphony, which will be beautiful, because you can really hear the symphony. I’m also bringing in some special guests, so not one night will repeat itself.

SM: You’re a Pacific Northwest native known for writing awesome country songs. How did this happen?

BC: I was country when country wasn’t cool! Nobody understands how country we can be up here in the Northwest. But I believe we lead the way when it comes to equality and social welfare. We have the best of both worlds—Northwestern hospitality and small-town love for our neighbor, and also an understanding of the power of hope and change.

SEE CARLILE SING: 11/23–11/25. 8 p.m. Prices vary. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St.; 206.215.4747; seattlesymphony.org

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