Album Review: Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter



American Brandi Carlile sings from her big, beautiful, humanitarian heart. In 2008 she created the Looking Out Foundation to support worthy causes and is married and settled with a child.

The Firewatcher’s Daughter is her 6th studio album, and her first on ATO after several years on Colombia, and it’s an album already riding high on the Billboard charts.  It was recorded almost entirely as first takes, without any demoing and little rehearsal, before a studio audience at Bear Creek, Washington, USA.

It has a retro, rock & roll energy throughout, perhaps best typified by cut four (and the commercial), Mainstream Kid. The opener, is a love song, Wherever You Find Your Heart and is currently on heavy rotation on New York’s WFUV. The Eye flies soft like an eagle, very country-rock. The Things I Regret has a little vocal twinkle of Nicole Atkins;  the guitar playing is as bright as a polished gold buckle.

Beginning To Feel The Years is too thin and transparent; you could punch a hole right through it, although beautifully sung. Wilder (We’re Chained) has echoes of Dolly Parton meets Stevie Nicks – simply wonderful!

Blood, Muscle, Skin & Bone is damn good! A spirited song that jives along. I Belong To You is reflectively sweet. Alibi is fiercesome and like Blood…has something of the glam rock about it. The Stranger At My Door is deep and dark. Heroes And Songs heartfelt. The final track (of twelve) is the guitar strumming softness of Murder In The City.

This record touches on family, friends, growth, disappointment and happy trails. It passes on the burning torch of friendship to fellow travellers. Brandi Carlile opens up to vulnerability and shares the love, often intensely.

Mark Watkins


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