Brandi Carlile – “Dying Day”

Juli Thanki | February 3rd, 2010

brandi-carlileEqually influenced by Patsy Cline and Radiohead, Brandi Carlile blends country, pop, folk, and rock and counts Elton John as one of her fans. At only 28 years old, she’s already worked with the likes of T Bone Burnett and Rick Rubin, who produced her third full length album, 2009’s Give Up the Ghost. Written by bandmate Tim Hanseroth, the album’s second single, “Dying Day,” is all about the loneliness of life on the road, or, as Hanseroth words it, a life spent “chasing miles through the nighttime making tracks/With no time for looking back/To the place where I belong.” Sure, it’s melancholy, but, set to chugging acoustic guitar and strings, it’s also pretty folk-rocking.

The song has a catchy chorus that unfortunately includes tired lyrics about missing you and just wanting to kiss you and being far away from you but promising to stay true. Despite the occasional unmemorable turn of phrase, Carlile’s performance is both haunting and beautiful. Here she sounds a little like a cross between Patty Griffin and Kathleen Edwards as she flings herself into the lyric, softly singing “Now I’m lost in a sea of sunken dreams/While the sound of drunken screams echoes in the night/But I know all of this will come to pass/And I’ll be with you at last, forever by your side” before howling the chorus like a woman possessed. Turns out that a voice like that can make even “How I miss you/And I just want to kiss you” sound brand new.

Though chances are it won’t garner loads of airplay, “Dying Day” is a song that’s poppy enough for mass consumption (it was a Starbucks Pick of the Week in early December) and rootsy enough to appeal to the No Depression crowd; look for it—and her spot on 2010’s Lilith Fair lineup among artists like Emmylou Harris and Miranda Lambert—to draw a few more bodies into Carlile’s growing fanbase.

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  1. Tony
    February 3, 2010 at 5:37 am

    The words “dying day” bring to mind “Wedding Song” by Canadian artist Allison Crowe. It’s a much different song, and a timeless one.

    I’d like to hear Brandi Carlile go indie. From having watched her progress over the years it sounds too much like the polish to try and achieve commercial success is robbing her of some character and a greater potential.

  2. Thomas
    February 3, 2010 at 6:02 am

    …definitely goes better with a blueberry muffin and some tall brew made from beans grown on a remote hillside in indonesia than with the average country radio playlist. the song sounds really good in all other aspects but commercial. those tired lyrics probably sound so tired because the longing behind them is so untiring.

  3. waynoe
    February 3, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Rating these types of artists is fine and certainly they don’t lack for talent, but many will not be listened to by the overall country music crowd.

    I am not talking about the crowd that follows Swift, but the crowd that is the mainstream country crowd.

    Are you sure this website is not a clandestine No Depression imprint?

  4. Drew
    February 3, 2010 at 10:40 am

    It’s decent, I like the overall feel of it right from the get-go. But whatever she is wearing in that picture is absolutely hideous lol.

  5. Sam G.
    February 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

    “But whatever she is wearing in that picture is absolutely hideous lol.”
    I’m guessing she bought it at Sgt. Pepper’s garage sale.

  6. Saving Country Music
    February 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Brandi’s got a little something. She reminds me of that Ramseur/North Carolina crowd which does a lot of that combining of roots and pop. Hoping to catch her in Dallas about a month from now.

  7. Kris H
    February 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Saw her at the Intersection in Grand Rapids, the girl can really sing, and has a great grasp of her audience. Her rendition of “Folsom Prison Blues” would have impressed Cash himself. besides the fact that the crowd was mostly feminist type women, it was a great show!

  8. Kody
    February 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I agree with Waynoe – the “overall country music crowd” isn’t smart enough to fully appreciate or understand an artist like Brandi Carlile…..but I would image she’ll have a more meaningful career than most mainstream artists.

  9. Rick
    February 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Let’s face it, The Lovell Sisters song “In My Time of Dyin'” kicks Brandi’s little ditty into the weeds, and best of all its a free download at Amazon!

    “In My Time of Dyin'” Download Page:

    Brandi’s music is just a bit “too hip” for me, but I do think she is a snazzy dresser! That top looks like something from a marching band in the late 1800’s. Jypsi should take fashion tips from Brandi! Also her name is just a little too Go-Go’s / Bangles for an Americana/alt. country singer. Frankly Billie Joe would be a more fitting first name…

  10. Kim
    February 3, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    That coat thing would be better if it were simply unbuttoned. She’s taking fashion cues from Coldplay apparently.
    Thanks for the recommendation.

  11. stormy
    February 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    I like it, but then again, inside the place in my head where I dwell Lilith Fair never stopped touring.

  12. Zayn Jones
    February 4, 2010 at 2:32 am

    I LOVE Brandi Carlile!!! Hey CMT Crossroads: Brandi Carlile + Trisha Yearwood :) OMG! They couldn’t do it because music would die! Want to know why? Because nothing could be more amazing than that! What?!?!

    Brandi Carlile is freaking BRILLIANT!! Just saying. If you haven’t listened to her amazing music, get on it.

  13. Rick
    February 4, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Stormy said: “I like it, but then again, inside the place in my head where I dwell Lilith Fair never stopped touring.” Man, if ever there was a breeding ground of future Obamavoters, it was the pro feminist/lesbian aura surrounding the early Lilith Fair tours! I’m all for “Girl Power” when its emphasis is traditional role models, like June Cleaver or Donna Reed! (lol)

  14. Josef
    February 8, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Have you seen the new Preseration Hall project that Brandi is getting down with. Should be pretty cool. Nice MJ style jacket Brandi

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