SHARING SONGS with Brandi Carlile and others

Brandi Carlile is


as Norman Warwick learned when reading Jacob Uitti in American Songwriter

Jacob Uitti has written recently in American Songwriter that It’s not so much that Pacific Northwest-born singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile (left) gets bigger each year, it’s that she increases in popularity and import seemingly every single day.

Truly, the 41-year-old Ravensdale, Washington-born Carlile is one of the hardest-working artists around. Whether she’s releasing a best-selling memoir (Broken Horses) or acclaimed LPs (By the Way, I Forgive You and In These Silent Days), or whether she’s supporting new voices in the industry and celebrating its legends, the multi-time Grammy Award-winning Americana standout seems to be at the centre of just about everything.

But along with writing songs like The Joke and The Story, what has Carlile written for other artists? What work has she done behind the scenes? Let’s find out.

In fact, Carlile and the Hanseroth twins are credited with co-writing seven songs on TANYA Tucker’s 2019 album, along with one more on the bonus vinyl edition. On the formal album, the trio wrote the songs, Mustang Ridge, I Don’t Owe You Anything, The Day My Heart Goes Still, Rich, Seminole Wind Calling and co-wrote Bring My Flowers Now with Tucker, the song that helped spark the collaboration at the outset. On the bonus vinyl, the three also wrote, The Winner’s Game.

 The Wheels of Laredo, recorded by Tanya Tucker

Written by Brandi Carlile, and Phil and Tim Hanseroth

Along with musical heroes like Joni Mitchell and Elton John, Brandi Carlile has worked closely with the country legend Tanya Tucker, who even has a new documentary out called, The Return of Tanya Tucker Featuring Brandi Carlile. Prior to the film, in 2019, Tucker released her first album in 17 years since her 2002 offering, Tanya. The record, While I’m Livin’, came about largely at Carlile’s urging, seemingly resurrecting Tucker when she thought her career might have wound down. Carlile co-produced that album, too. And it features the song, The Wheels of Laredo, which was written by Carlile and her long-time collaborators, twin musicians Phil and Tim Hanseroth.

 Same Old You, recorded by Miranda Lambert (left)

written by  Brandi Carlile

In 2011, Miranda Lambert released her then-latest LP, Four the Record. The 14-track (15, if you got the deluxe edition) record featured a number of co-writers, including Brandi Carlile, who opened the song, “Same Old You.” Other big-name contributors included Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, and Chris Stapleton.

While Carlile was captured on a fan-shot video not long ago singing the song the track is not on any of her own studio albums. In fact, the one comment on the YouTube fan-shot video was, “I wish she would have recorded it on the album.” Although it was written around the time Carlile was putting songs together for her 2012 album, Bear Creek, it looks like Lambert reaped the benefits of that. Check out Lambert’s version of the melancholy song below.

The Secret Sisters

Mississippi, recorded by The Secret Sisters

written by Belinda Carlile. Phil and Tim Hanseroth, Laura and Lydia Rogers

King Cotton, recorded by The Secret Sisters

written by Belinda Carlile, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, Laura and Lydia Rogers

Little Again, recorded by The Secret Sisters

written by Belinda Carlile. Phil and Tim Hanseroth, Laura and Lydia Rogers

Brandi Carlile has a friendship and musical connection with the Muscle Shoals, Alabama-formed duo known as The Secret Sisters. Comprised of sisters Laura and Lydia, the two have worked with Carlile on a number of tracks. They’ve also performed live together a myriad of times.

In fact, Carlile invited The Secret Sisters to open a few shows for her in 2015. That’s when she got to hear some of their then-new work. She became so enthralled with it that she was producing their next album, You Don’t Own Me Anymore. On that 2017 record, Carlile helped to pen three songs, Mississippi, King Cotton and Little Again.

The songs were recorded at Carlile’s home studio in Seattle, as were songs for the duo’s 2020 LP, Saturn Return. Prior to that, before the 2015 shows, Carlile had come across the sisters through a friend, T Bone Burnett, and she helped to write songs for an earlier album, the 2014 LP, Put Your Needle Down. Carlile helped pen three songs on that album, too, Rattle My Bones, Black And Blue and Bad Habit.

We are writing this post on Boxing day 2022 and, having talked about Americana music, it would be remiss of us not to mention a couple of quite amazing musical performances we have seen over here on Lanzarote over the Christmas period and what is coming up for us in the New Year.

In the seven years we have lived here we have noticed, that on this  island so very similar in size to our home town of Rochdale, in the UK where we previously lived for sixty years, that small community events sit side by side on the calendar with much larger ´occassions´ involving more well-known performers, and that each ion their own way present some wonderful surprises.

Thus it was that on the 22nd December, in the tiny, but impressive Casa De La Cultura Benita Perez Armas in Yaize, twenty five musicians, including students from the age of ten to sixteen, some intermediary players, maybe in their later teens, and a handful of musical teachers and mentors, and one man in particular, full of pastoral care and empathy for his students, who also served a guitarist, vocalist and musical director. This ensemble, crammed on to the stage, was the orchestra of the Escuela Municipal, named Folklore de la Parranda Janubio, giving us Christmas presents of much loved seasonal and island and local songs delivered on a collection of stringed instruments including guitar, double bass, and mandolin with several individual vocal performances, including lively renditions of Feliz Navidad and Navidad Blanco (White Christmas).

The audience was comprised of family and friends of the performers and the infiltration of we four ´new´ residents on the island as we and our friends Iain and Margaret took places on the front row. Entrance was free of charge, and there was a definite ´school open night´ atmosphere to the whole event, with positive, supportive vibes coming from the audience. The playing of the orchestra was of a higher level, though, and from our proximity to the stage we could identify youngsters who played diligently and thoughtfully and others who delivered with a (probably faux) casual manner. A young girl in a  Santa hat and a friend on either side of her clicked their fingers and sang and swayed like The Three Degrees in their prime. One young lad laid so far back in his chair and played the timple as if he were a busker on the beach or Bob Masrley in a hammock, and also gave us a superb vocal number.

Three very young sisters of some in the ensemble sat on the floor at our feet on the front row and gazed adoringly at their older siblings for a minute or so before settling down to simply listening while crayoning in colouring books.

The applause at the end from proud family and friends was long sustained and it was delightful to see younger musicians rushing to their parents with wide smiles of achievement (and almost certainly, of relief) and one young girl from the musicians who took long and sweeping bows from the stage and applauded the audience in mock-diva fashion.

A refreshment bar had been erected for the families and we slipped in their afterwards too, and took a table at which we enjoyed two beers, and two wines each as we and Iain and Margaret chatted about arts gone by and new arts to come and wondered at how these events are always seemingly so poorly publicised yet invariably so well attended. We also wondered who meets the cost of these free admission events,….., given that the audiences don´t ! 

There was another free event a couple of nights later when  our friends travelled down and we drove up to the beautiful village (town, over here) of Uga, just off  the LZ 2 just past the smoked salmon factory.

This was a much grander occasion, with lots of show-biz razz a mattaz and all that jazzas the dozen or so musicians who comprise Las Cantadores (right) took the night of 23rd December by storm.

This was a fully professional evening, reminiscent of what I think of as Las Vegas shows: four for fice great vocalists, delivering solos and chorus with great gusto and panache, cabaret sytyled routines, half a dozen superb musicians, fantastic cinematic back-drop to every number, intriguing light show flashed across the tents and roof of the carpe (tent) that housed (in my estimation) between four and five hundred people, and frequent spectac  ular pyrotechnics on stage.

photo los cantadores It was billed as being a presentation of ´songs from the cinema and it was delivered in glitzy, ritzy style. by a group that works widely around the Canary Islands, There were times when the band looked like one of those larger Motown congregations of say Smokey (Robinson) and the Miracles, or even The Temptations. In other songs there was definite air of the Rat Pack era,  with jokes and banter between the artists. The music was loud and punchy for most of the evening, and yet appropriately soft and sympathetic on the ballads.

The female vocalist danced and cavorted with her male singing companions and tenderly delivered on some lovely slower songs.

As I´d parked the car an hour and half earlier, (only twenty yards away, adjacent to the tent) I hadn´t expected to find myself jumping around like a loon to I Wanna Be Like You-hoo-hoo from The Jungle Book and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would join in a race to deliver the fastest version ever of Supercalli ..wotsit from Mary… oozit.

When this superb show was over we queued with scores of others at the exit (tent flap!) to buy a cd entitled Los Grand Exitos de los Clasicos Cuentos by Los Cantdores that included many of the songs we heard live tonight, including Haruna Matata from The Lion King, which had, for me, been the highlight on a night of many highlights.

Although it was nearly midnight we found a little but very busy bar just around the corner, where four drinks and two trays of chips went down a treat between the four of us, as we dined al fresco on a starry, starry night.

As we dined on what was perhaps not a biblically or religiously traditional meal for this closeness to Christmas we chatted again about how such huge productions are delivered at no cost to the audience. This would have fifty pounds a head event in the UK when we lived there, and that was seven years ago. I suspect that this group are retained in some way by the Canary Island governments to provide entertainment, delivering modernity  for the youngsters and  traditional for the more mature audiences, with an eye on mixing tourists and locals.

We arranged an e mail interview as we left, and hope to find some clarity. Watch this space, then to learn more about the excellent band that is Los Cantadores.

Even now, in the wind down days of the old year, we are editing this post we wrote on Boxing Day,  so we can add this postscript this morning, because there have since been one or two more charming live concerts we have seen here on Lanzarote.

One of the premier folk-lore groups in The Canary Islands, Teguey (left) played live and for free in the  Plaza del Carmen in front of the church in Playa Blanca. We love this group and have a cd of theirs and have also seen them in concert a couple of times. They seem to have something of a fluctuating line up, or maybe they employ a rotating squad system such as the big football clubs do.

Tonight, there were eighteen in the line-up that we have once seen play with more than thirty. Nevertheless, eighteen musicians and vocalists created soaring and lilting sounds on timple, guitar and hand held percussion and their vocals seemed to float across the square. There was a lovely ´local´ feel to the show, with songs of mountains and seas, some of which were of local towns such as Playa Honda, and they sang too about the El Risco cliffs that line the beach at Famara. Their encore of Gauntanamera was de rigour of course, but was nevertheless well deserved for a group that had fully engaged the audience of around two hundred on what was a rare chilly night here on the island. Scores of other people were listening too but were doing so from the warmth of the restaurant terraces across the road.

Last night closed our calendar of arts for of 2022, that here on Lanzarote has been so much kinder to us all than we could have ever anticipated in the depth of 2020 closedowns. That conclusion was delivered by a charming performance from The Banda Municipal de Yaiza, (left) in the Casa del Cultura in the centre of the town. There were trombones, trumpets and euphoniums all brightly shining as well as percussion. As the guy in Jaws might have said, we´re gonna need a bigger stage !

This tiny but beautiful and atmospheric venue was also packed to the rafters with not only family and friends of the musicians and local indigents but also with at least four new residents, as we attended with our friends, the undercover detective and The Commander. In fact there was a definite international feel to the audience and The Yaiza Band cleverly catered for diverse tastes.

Opening with the Vangelis piece, Conquest Of Paradise, they then delivered the Satchmo classic, What A Wonderful World. There was Bach´s Ariosa and then a piece I was not familiar with, called Remember Me, written by Robert and Kristina Anderson Lopez. That was followed by the traditional piece Nocha de Paz, Silent Night. in a beautiful  new arrangement.

That signalled a huge change of direction, with another sparkling arrangement of Lennon & McCartney´s Let It Be.

Ennio Morricone´s Cinema Paradisio is one of my favourite pieces of music and was followed by another that has haunted me all Christmas. For nearly a fortnight I seemed to hear it whenever I turned the television on and the screen showed the Coca Cola trucks delivering their cargoes, with that music in the background. The concert was brought to a close with John Higgins Overture Espanol and then a beautiful version of John and Yoko´s Happy Christmas (War is Over) that was lent added poignancy by news of one of Russia´s biggest bombing raids since their evil war against Ukraine began a year ago.

There is a genuine swell of sound that is so often created by The Yaiza Band and it is in these moments that they are most impressive. They are, after all, a town band, not a National Symphony Orchestra and there will be different levels of playing experience and abilities within their ranks. The music of Noche De Paz, Let it Be, Carol Of The Bells and Happy Christmas War Is Over submitted clear evidence of how quickly the band is becoming fully integrated and so quickly raising its performance levels.

We made for the ´beer tent´, staffed by a jolly, friendly family, one of whom kindly took photographs of the four of us, though  when we eventually publish them, we might have to pixelate the faces of our undercover operators. The beers and wines and churros went down very nicely as we chatted about what we had seen recently and where we go next.

With six events from the 39th edition of The Canary Islands International Classical Music Festival still to come, including The Tenerife Symphony Orchestra playing an the many splendoured theatre in the caves of Jameos Del Agua, we  hope you will watch this space for more reviews throughout 2023.

Meanwhile we wish all our readers A HAPPY NEW YEAR

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