The Bowery Presents
Brandi Carlile

WFUV Presents

Brandi Carlile

Blitzen Trapper

Sun, October 28, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Beacon Theatre

New York, NY

$40

Rescheduled

This event is all ages

This show has been rescheduled for Friday, March 22. All tickets for the 10/28 show will be honored.

Brandi Carlile
Brandi Carlile
“Everyone needs to be risking something,” says Seattle-based singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile. She’s discussing the M.O. behind The Firewatcher’s Daughter, her stunning new release – her first for artist-friendly indie label ATO. The 12-song collection marks a triumphant return after a three-year recording hiatus, and her strongest, most rock & roll album to date.

“Rock & roll music as a genre always has a sense of erratic recklessness to it,” she says. “It can’t really be rehearsed – in fact, rehearsal can kill it. On this album, each song has its honest rock & roll moment, even the ballads; it’s between the point where you’ve learned the song enough to get through it, but you don’t have any control over it yet.”

Since her heralded, genre-defying 2005 Columbia debut, Carlile and her indispensable collaborators, Tim and Phil Hanseroth, aka The Twins, have always offered listeners both control and abandon, often within a single song. The most well-known Brandi Carlile tunes, 2007’s “The Story” and 2012’s “That Wasn’t Me,” are dynamic journeys in themselves, encompassing myriad emotions and varied stylistic touches; “The Story” morphs from understated balladry to epic stadium rock, while “That Wasn’t Me” effortlessly straddles country soul and pop gospel. Infused with Carlile’s clarion voice, The Twins’ tight sibling harmonies, and stellar musicianship from everyone, it all simply sounds like Brandi Carlile.

Yet, over four acclaimed Columbia albums, countless sold-out tours, and fruitful relationships with top producers Rick Rubin and T Bone Burnett, something was missing: Carlile and The Twins hadn’t yet captured the distinctive spark of old friends working up new tunes, a slippery magic born of years touring together, and often caught only on raw demos made at the behest of the label. The Firewatcher’s Daughter, by contrast, is a full-on Carlile/Twins co-production, cut live in Seattle’s Bear Creek Studio, with complete artistic control granted by ATO. With this new freedom, Carlile and The Twins, intent on capturing the elusive essence of a song’s spirit, tracked the album live, with little or no rehearsal.

Ironically, during this time of liberation, Carlile and The Twins all transitioned to married life; the Hanseroths became dads, and Carlile’s wife, Catherine Shepherd, was pregnant during the making of The Firewatcher’s Daughter. So when the engineer hit RECORD, the stakes were higher than usual: Carlile and the Twins producing, kids underfoot or on the way, and three years since an album. But true to form, they wrangled it all into song, catching many, many lightning-in-a-bottle moments; the crackling Lucinda Williams-meets-Fleetwood Mac of “Wherever Is Your Heart,” the CSN-meets-Bonnie Raitt of “The Eye,” to the dark folk-punk of “The Stranger at My Door,” the Elton John-meets-McCartney of “Beginning to Feel the Years,” and more – all executed without a net.

“Everything is completely live,” Carlile says. “That’s the only way to make the moment happen. It’s way too easy to say, ‘Hey guys, you get your part down and I’ll spend the rest of the evening by myself in a fucking booth not taking any risks, and trying to nail down my contribution while I drink a bottle of Jameson.’ A lot of the songs are in about the highest key I can sing them in. The vocals were very emotional for me. I was right on the edge – I’d been off the road for a long time, I was on the precipice of becoming a mother, and there was a lot that needed to come out before that could happen.”

The title, The Firewatcher’s Daughter, comes from a line in “The Stranger at My Door,” written after Carlile stared into a bonfire for a long, long time. “I wrote it standing next to one of my frequent bonfires up in the horse pasture on our land. I have a bonfire compulsion. I tend to stand there and stare into them close to every day, and I’m able to tap into something beyond my day-to-day consciousness. I often write lyrics, solve problems, run for President – the usual stuff. Catherine was pregnant and I was contemplating the juxtaposition between religious rigidity and beauty, and its effects on families and society.”

Carlile says she and The Twins always insert a through-line in her albums: “An instrument keeps appearing, a theme keeps getting touched on, or we try to use the same microphone. But of all my albums, I felt the least amount of control over this one. Catherine was nine months pregnant, The Twins’ kids were there, the tension was there, but the love was also there, so the continuity is felt.”

Part of that continuity is the concept of “chains,” which recurs over the course of The Firewatcher’s Daughter, from the lullaby “Wilder (We’re Chained)” to the chorus of the gorgeous “The Eye”: “I wrapped your love around me like a chain / But I never was afraid that it would die / You can dance in a hurricane / But only if you’re standing in the eye.” Carlile lays this chain fascination at the feet of Fleetwood Mac, a band she and The Twins listened to a lot in the run-up to The Firewatcher’s Daughter, and whose classic love song “The Chain” is bittersweet reality. “The twins and I were inspired by that band’s connection and their turbulence,” she says. “I find it fascinating how culturally some things can get cast in a negative light, like a chain. But a chain can bind and connect, like a fire can refine and renew. We would definitely describe ourselves as chained in the best possible way.”

After stepping back from this fine new work and assessing it, Carlile knows exactly what she wants from The Firewatcher’s Daughter: “My goal,” she says, “is to connect on a soul level with our longtime fans and friends, and to reach new people with the honesty of this music. Also, I would like my daughter, Evangeline, to grow up and think I’m cool.”
Blitzen Trapper
Blitzen Trapper
VII is the seventh record from Blitzen Trapper and their first release for Vagrant Records. Its twelve tracks teem with vivid tales of longing, flight, desperation and redemption, all set in a sonic landscape at once familiar, but also strange and new, like a dream. Without a doubt the culmination of all the group's best work, VII sounds a lot like America.

Blitzen Trapper was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2000 by a group of native Pacific Northwesterners, who played around town endlessly to skeleton crowds and gave away an impressive stream of garage recordings on CDR for years. Then came the Blitzen Trapper record in 2003, and Field Rexx in 2005. But it wasn't until 2007's self-released Wild Mountain Nation made a big splash that they finally hit the road, setting the stage for Furr's release the following year. Powered by its title track and by the G-funk-inflected "Black River Killer" that record became an unlikely hit and the group suddenly found itself on network television and in glossy magazines and astride colossal festival stages. So they released more music, toured the Western world incessantly, got to work with the likes of Wilco, Stephen Malkmus, Guided By Voices and Belle & Sebastian, and slowly became the band they'd always dreamed they would be. Blitzen Trapper are frontman and songwriter Eric Earley, Marty Marquis, Brian Adrian Koch, Michael Van Pelt and Erik Menteer.

VII opens with "Feel The Chill," a southern adventure complete with a woman in her underwear, deer hunting, and of course drowning at the local bar. Earley takes us down a crooked bend so dark and gloomy you can smell the heat and feel the humidity oppress you. "Each song starts from a small place, a headwater like remembrance and then widens into a song. For instance, that old wreck of a shack buried in evergreen and murky darkness at the bend in the road up on Jackson Hill where we used to drink, never failed to give me a chill driving by in the old Impala for it's implacable mystery," Earley notes.

Tracks like "Thirsty Man" speak of love in a Dylan-esque fashion where Earley reveals "love like rain falls in the wasteland and slips thru the fingers – for love is a thing that cannot be held, only felt and released." "Drive On Up" is a soulful, almost bluesy rendition of small town tales of quirkiness. "It seems you're always driving on up to something," Earley amuses, "into the mountains to see a girlfriend above the reservoir where she lives in a single wide with her mom and a cougar stalks us at fifty yards through the brush, she says to bang sticks but never look it in the eye."

VII moves effortlessly from track to track, allowing Earley to paint the colorful pictures that play in our head while singing along. "...There are those songs I keep writing over and over again, Ever Loved Once with all its regrets and tragic lost love, Don't be a Stranger its hopeful cousin but they all still point to the same worn out place in the heart of old E. Earley. And hey, we all have that place, that worn spot on the heart like the chew canister circle on the back pocket of blue jeans, or that one shred in the green felt of the table where you ground the stick in too hard... May these songs minister in ways mysterious and eternal, or at least maybe make you shake a hip."
Venue Information:
Beacon Theatre
2124 Broadway
New York, NY, 10023
http://www.beacontheatre.com/faq/index.html