Brandi Carlile - In These Silent Days
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In These Silent Days (Low County Sounds/Elektra, 2021)

Brandi Carlile

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Brandi Carlile many times plays the wise (elder?) sage on "In These Silent Days," an album filled with folkish music and much good advice. She sings amazingly well throughout; she could do that without even trying. There are plenty of memorable songs, too, which makes it amount to a fully satisfying album.

The best track is also its shortest. Titled "Stay Gentle," it's one written a little like a sequel to Lori McKenna's "Humble and Kind." It's sung as a lullaby and is just as gentle as its title. It's sung in the voice of a mother to a child, and it'll leave you feeling warm and loved. "You and Me On The Rock" (which also features vocal help from Lucious), is built on an obviously Joni Mitchell-inspired acoustic guitar part and vocal. It's a love song about having a solid foundation in a couple's relationship. Sure, it's sonically derivative, but – as they say – if you're going to steal, steal from the best. It's becoming a tradition for Carlile to include at least one showstopping ballad on her albums, and "Right on Time," a piano ballad, kicks off the record with another goosebump-inducing Carlile vocal.

Everything on "In These Silent Days" is good (if not great), so your favorites may change from listen to listen. "Broken Horses" sports Carlile's rocking-ist lead vocal, whereas "Throwing Good After Bad" closes the project with hushed beauty. The only near misfire is "Sinners Saints And Fools," which sometimes sounds a little too much like an overly dramatic Helen Reddy-styled anti-fundamentalist rant. Carlile makes it work, but just barely.

The album was produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, who have found a winning, unbeatable formula to making great Brandi Carlile albums. "In These Silent Days' truly is the perfect way to break the silence (perhaps, code for the pandemic?) with powerfully joyous music.

CDs by Brandi Carlile

In These Silent Days, 2021

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