2021 was the year that Brandi Carlile broke all the way through as a household name, making appearances on some of the largest platforms out there. Whether you’ve been following Carlile since her must-hear 2007 record The Story, or just saw her burn down the stage on Saturday Night Live, you’re in good company.
Over the last decade and a half, Carlile carved out a spot of her own in a crowded field of singer-songwriters, drifting through a few genres and refining her craft. If you haven’t yet heard all of her work, there’s good news – each of her records is a testament to her strength as a writer and performer (we particularly enjoy The Firewatcher’s Daughter vinyl around here).
On the other hand, if you already have the entire Brandi Carlile vinyl collection on your shelf, we’ve got 4 records that fit nicely next to them.
Jade Bird – Jade Bird
Jade Bird’s voice seems like it can do just about anything on her debut LP. Although she hails from Northumpton, England, this record is overflowing with Americana influences and themes. Fans of Carlile’s voice will find plenty to love throughout Jade Bird, as Bird’s own voice swings smoothly and cracks at just the right moments.
Bird is a natural storyteller, and draws us in with her tales. Listen through her single “Lottery” as she reminds someone how they “used to tell me love is a lottery – you’ve got your numbers and you’re betting on me.”
Kathleen Edwards – Total Freedom
For over 20 years, Kathleen Edwards has been taking us for a ride-along as she fought her way through life on the road, never shy about her own weaknesses and mistakes. We’ve loved her work all along the way, especially her anti-hero classic Failer, a window into the rough and tumble early chapters of her journey.
Then, in 2014, Edwards hung her guitar up for a while to start a coffee shop she cleverly named Quitters. We are so glad she got back in the record game! Total Freedom is a celebration of her successes and heartbreaks, a record that might not have ever been born if she hadn’t quit for a season. Opening track “Glenfern” gets us squarely in the feels when she says “We toured the world, we played on TV, we met some of our heroes, it almost killed me.”
The Highwomen – The Highwomen
In case you missed it, Brandi Carlile formed country supergroup The Highwomen with fellow powerhouse artists Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby in 2019. Few supergroup records deliver on the possibility of greatness like The Highwomen, stuffed full with hot country jams that pay respects to classic country and shine light on the strength of each member in their own right. Don’t miss the funny, powerful “Redesigning Women”, a standout sermon on modern femininity from some of its strongest voices.
Kae Tempest – Book of Traps and Lessons
At first listen, Kae Tempest’s spoken-word music isn’t a natural fit for this collection, but they are a powerful storyteller with some common themes to Carlile’s. They are both artists who are outspoken as part of the LGBTQ community, and advocates for greater understanding and inclusion for all.
Kae is a poet in the literal sense, performing their pieces over subtle sounds, carefully curating each syllable. These are pieces you can dissolve into, feel challenged, and feel loved by. Book of Traps and Lessons surprises again and again, then lands with the exquisite closer “People’s Faces”, as Kae reminds us “There is so much peace to be found in People’s Faces”.