Josie Javens – Staff Writer
Rating: 4 stars
Seattleite singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile’s new album “Bear Creek” is definitely a keeper.
For me, the most compelling aspect of this album is Carlile’s appealing voice; its endearing rasp, soulful richness, and well–timed, soft cracks of emotion makes any song that she sings special. Her lyrics are transparent and personal without being sappy.
Most of the acoustic–driven songs on this, her fifth, album could be termed Folk or Alternative Folk but with a definite Country or Americana vibe. The Country flavor of this album really comes out in the tracks “Keep Your Heart Young” and “Hard Way Home,” a song she says she wrote trying to reach back to her Country music roots. The country feel of her album will appeal to professed Country music enthusiasts, but won’t be a turn off to those who can only appreciate the genre. Those who can’t even stand a hint of Country and hate banjos should probably stay away from this one.
The track you won’t want to miss is “That Wasn’t Me,” a soulful and reflective–natured song which she recently played on The Tonight Show. My other favorites were “100,” “Heart’s Content,” “Rise Again” (the most Rock of them all), and “In the Morrow.” The track I cared for the least was “Raise Hell.” Overall, almost all of the tracks are quality and there’s not much to criticize.
This is definitely an album I could listen to all the way through without wanting to skip many tracks, and it would be a great one to sing along to. These songs are good for a reflective but not melancholy mood, as many of these songs, while perhaps somber in emotion, are often up–tempo and definitely not depressing. I imagine it as a good soundtrack to someone’s summer, cross–country road trip.
Most of the tracks on this album are quality, and there is a good amount of variety in style and instrumentation to keep you interested. Overall, it’s a solid album.