Tuesday, October 12, 2010

an unexpected gift

My special lady and I recently enjoyed a weekend at the FOXWOODS RESORT in Mashantucket, CT. Gambling is the main attraction at this venue. But, once a year or so, we go mainly to see a comedy act or a concert.

Hearing Sheryl Crow sing live at the MGM Grand Theater at the resort was our primary objective. Although I’m not in love with the acoustics offered by this hall, I do like the size (not too big or small) and the seating is very comfortable (I hate being crammed and jammed while watching an engagement). I knew Sheryl would perform magnificently-and she certainly did.

We had no idea though who would open up for her. And when the opening artist and band were introduced-the name Brandi Carlile only slightly rang a bell. I am also not a viewer of the ABC drama, Grey’s Anatomy, so I was unaware that a few of Ms. Carlile’s songs had been featured here. However, just a few harmonics later and we did know that we were the recipients of a bank error in our favor. This was no opening act and a show. It was a double header.

I enjoy many different kinds of music. To my delight, Brandi Carlile has a unique way of blending rock, country and folk qualities into her renditions while she mixes in and reveals a wide range of singing ability. She appears young, yet self-assured and powerfully energetic. And her vocal cords possess the smooth acceleration of a finely tuned V8 engine.

Differing styles aside, but similarly having previously known nothing about someone, I couldn’t help feeling some familiarity to having heard Bonnie Raitt for the first time back in the 1970’s and instantly becoming a follower. Déjà-vu, I suppose, in the form of another big voice, with obvious talent, artistry and an upward aura.

It was a no-brainer then that I would want to head for the lobby and purchase a CD during intermission. About a thousand other people had thought along those lines too. Even with the announced knowledge that an autographed copy might be possible, I gave the notion little consideration. Instead, I hyper focused (zoned out-as I sometimes do) as I weaved my way to the glass enclosed displays of merchandise available. I drowned out all the crowd noise around me and requested ‘that one’ while pointing in redundancy to the clerk in attendance. Then, at the exact moment I was handed the disk, my peripheral focus returned and I heard a woman next to me say, ‘I’ll take that’.

Standing beside me and to the right was Brandi Carlile. As she autographed my purchase I wanted to comment all about my déjà-vu, her energy, her range, her wit of lyrics and her guitar playing. But, suffering under the weight of an unexpected gift being tossed in my lap, I mundanely declared ‘great voice Brandi, great voice’ as I moved on to make room for the next new fan.

Considering that for the past two weeks her songs are pretty much all I have listened to while navigating my way around town, I thought that if you too are looking for a gift that doubles as a gem you may want to check out the music of Brandi Carlile.

© 2010 Christopher’s Views


  1. that is so cool! what fun.
    I too enjoy live music & love it when the opening act is someone I wind up becoming a fan of. I think it's the best way to find new music.
    Great post Chris!

  2. Oh, I agree with Lily! I love concerts/live music and love finding someone new that I really like. I'll have to look for this one! Wonderful post, Chris! Good to see you! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!


  3. Unexpected gift is putting it mildly! Brandi Carlile is an incredible musician, a great songwriter, and she has an unbelievable voice. I've been following her since the very first minute I heard her on WFUV about 3 years ago. In my humble opinion, she blows Sheryl Crow away on every level - Sheryl should be opening for Brandi! In a recent article in Newsday, Sheryl Crow describes her own songwriting style as "ethereal". Ethereal?? Has anyone out there every really paid attention to the lyrics of "All I Wanna Do"? And, for reasons I'll never understand, she insists on singing in a key just slightly too high for her range - nails on the chalkboard for me!
    But back to Brandi - she's awesome!! I encourage all of you out there to listen to 90.7 WFUV (www.wfuv.org) You'll hear her music played regularly (and not just one song, but lots of her stuff), and you'll hear other great "barely known" artists as well!
    Great post, Chris! And yes, I totally get the Bonnie Raitt connection...

  4. Sounds like a great musical night! Will have to check out Brandi's music.

  5. Great post, Christopher! I love Sheryl Crow's music; love her voice especially in All I wanna Do".
    I'll check out Brandi Carlile's music. :-)

  6. What a great review. I hope that Brandi Carlile will happen upon it so that she can know what you would have like to have told her. Thanks for the link. I'll give it a listen. And thanks also to Maria for the online radio link. I may just give that a try as well.

  7. Hmmm it's always so interesting when the opening act becomes an act you really like. I'm going to have to check this out. :) Great review my friend :)

  8. Great review! I'll have to check out Ms. Carlie's music.

    I have 3x been gifted with an unexpected encounter with a celebrity (one being Rick Springfield back in his heydey) and every time -- despite the fact that I am generally articulate and rarely short of words -- I have been so startled my "polite" manners kicked in and I did the "right" thing rather than the "fan" thing. I console myself with the knowledge that I'll likely never end up on the front page of the newspaper as a nutcase fan.

  9. You write a terrific review, Christopher - more than that, it's a story, really. Very enjoyable!
    I shall definitely check out Brandi Carlile.

  10. Wow I'll have to check her out. Sounds like great night.

  11. That was wonderful getting her autograph and being able to say what you did.
    I don't know this singer but will check her out.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  12. I watch Grey's Anatomy and I remember hearing a song that I had to identify - it was Brandi

    comparing her to Bonnie Raitt is quite a compliment - Bonnie is a goddess to me :)

    enjoy the music!!

  13. As you said, great voice indeed.
    Isn't it always the case that we become totally tongue-tied just at the moment when we should be sparkling with wit!

  14. What a fun experience! Some delightfully surreal in the way you told the tale, Christopher. It was very enjoyable.

    Her voice doesn't quite suit my tastes but it certainly is easy to wish her tremendous success, isn't it? What a nice thing to do!

  15. The best moments have to be unexpected, don't they? For me, they do.

    I haven't heard of her before, but I'll seek her out now. And, indeed, many times I, too, have found that the opening act is equal to the headliner--if not superior.

  16. Wow, Christopher, I love her!! Thanks for the link. I can relate to your story. I have met a couple of incredible musicians up in Cape Breton performing in small, comfortable venues, and have had similar encounters. I'm always in awe of such talent.