On the heels of the release of her fourth studio album, Bear Creek (Columbia Records, $13), Seattle singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile is celebrating the sprightly rock collection by looking back at the songs that have shaped her.
“It was the first song I ever learned to play, when I was 8. My mom suggested it, and it turned out to be a pivotal moment. The story means a lot to me: the tale of a boy who grows up poor, learns to play guitar and winds up on the hit parade. Rosanne Cash was the first person I heard sing it. I didn’t find out it was originally a Johnny Cash song until much later.”
“It’s probably my favorite song of all time. The vocal is truly outstanding — it feels completely live — and the production is sculpted the way I’ve always wanted my records to sound. It’s just perfect.”
“In 1998, I was playing in bars six nights a week and going through some spiritual turmoil, just stumbling in my faith. I heard Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s song and thought it described the feeling perfectly, so I started playing it. Years later, I Ianded a gig at the Hotel Café in L.A., and there was a sign by the sound board that said ‘Please Do Not Sing “Hallelujah.” ’ That was the first time I realized it was something everyone was doing. But I still love it.”