REVIEW: Brandi Carlile’s “By the Way, I Forgive You”

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Brandi Carlile’s new release By the Way, I Forgive You (Low Country Sound/Elektra) has been eagerly anticipated by her growing troupe of devoted fans. Co-produced by Shooter Jennings and Dave Cobb, who also recently produced Jason Isbell’s Hope the High Road among many others. The album has a big orchestral feel, and Cobb’s production style is polished, but Carlile’s songs remain emotional and true.

There’s not one song in the project that isn’t profound, as they range over acceptance, forgiveness, and overcoming struggle. “Maybe I should thank you for giving me what I found,” she sings on “Every Time I Hear Your Song.” “The Joke” is a rumbling empowerment song, “let them laugh while they can…the joke’s on them,” aimed at feelings of growing up as a girl and struggling toward believing in oneself and success. “Hold Out Your Hand,” is a nod to the Avett Brothers and “Party of One,” is song about holding on and letting go: “I loved you the first time I saw you, but I’m tired.”

The album speaks the truth to her audience about how really challenging life can be. “Fulton County Jane Doe” and “Sugartooth” address the current elephant in the national room of the sky-high rate of pill addiction to numb peoples’ pains. “The Mother” is a semi-wry commentary on motherhood.

Carlile evokes those emotional responses that create loyal fans, and with this album she has provided ample material to solidify those bonds.

For tour dates, including at the Beacon Theatre in NYC, check here.

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