You are here:  / feature story / Show Preview / Brandi Carlile’s evolution to forgiveness

Brandi Carlile’s evolution to forgiveness

Preview: Brandi Carlile’s evolution to forgiveness

Life is hard, no matter which way you slice it. You will be hurt by your friends, co-workers, strangers, and family throughout your life. Sometimes it’s like a small cut on your finger, sometimes it’s like someone cut off your whole damn arm. We have no control over who or what caused us this pain, but we do have control over how we react and respond to it. Sadly, most of us learn the hard way that running away does not help the situation but only prolongs the bitterness and anger. Instead, we need to be aware and present of the pain, feel it, and accept it for whatever it is, and understand that this is part of life…. no matter how hard it is. For without the bad there would be no good, without death there would be no life, and without hate there would be no love. Only once this process is complete can we truly move on with this life experience, better prepared for the next one, and forgive.

Musicians, just like all of us, are human and not immune to these experiences.

However, they do have the special ability to help us deal with them through their music. All of us have a soundtrack to our lives. When a certain song starts playing, it transports us back in time to that exact place and situation.  

Brandi Carlile has had this power throughout her career since she first started in the early 2000’s in the Seattle club scene. However, she developed an uncanny super power to teleport us from life experience to life experience in the span of 43 minutes and 25 seconds with the release and exact length of her new album By the Way I Forgive You.   


Brandi Carlile is one of the most unique, authentic, and generous human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in my life. While many artists have a stage persona that’s much different then who they actually are, Brandi does not. Each and every one of her shows provides glimpses into her real life that she shares willingly with her adoring fans. That is one of the many reasons she sells out show after show across the country, and has been slowly graduating to bigger venues to meet the demand to see her live.  

With the release of By the Way I Forgive You on February 16, this soulful, truthful, and intense album tells many a personal story that led it to debut as the #1 on the Billboard Rock Album charts, #5 of the Billboard Top 200, and #1 on iTunes.


After three sold out consecutive shows at the Beacon Theatre, two of which I attended, the songs from the album are even better heard live. Nothing is better than seeing a live concert with amazing musicians, and on this tour there are nine on stage, including a four-piece orchestra that sounds like they’re a dozen or more!  All ten songs on the new album are played during the show, as well as many favorites and even a cover or two mixed in for good measure. I’m not going to give away the songs as you will just need to go see her live and be ready to be blown away! By the way, have a box of tissues near you when you listen to this album or a small travel pack when you see her live because I can guarantee you that you will shed some tears sometime during the time you listen to her.

From the opening sweet notes and the soaring harmonies of Brandi Carlile, Phil and Tim Hanseroth (better known as The Twins) on “Every Time I Hear That Song”, to the last songs haunting piano notes of “Party of One”, the album takes you on a roller coaster of emotional highs, introspective journeys, and storytelling at its finest.  Brandi’s magnificent and extraordinary voice is the 8th wonder of the world, showcased on every song she sings, but really shines on the most popular and iconic track of this album, “The Joke”.  

The most heartwarming song, hitting a particular soft note for me as a parent, is “The Mother” which is a story and tribute to her first daughter Evangeline. “Fulton County, Jane Doe” is an iconic song that pays homage to a woman who was found deceased without any ID or relatives. Each song a small masterpiece by itself but as a whole, this album is Brandi Carlile’s magnum opus…so far.

Brandi Carlile’s generosity is heavily intertwined with her career. 

After her breakout album The Story came out in 2007 and gained mainstream fame, Brandi created the Looking Out Foundation, a 501c organization to benefit charities of her choosing in 2008. For every concert ticket sold, $1 is donated to the charity. In 2017 Brandi released Cover Stories, which is a compilation of 14 different artists covering each of the songs from “The Story”. 100% of the profits were donated to the Looking Out Foundation, which was then donated to WarChild UK. In addition to all this incredible generosity, Brandi has VIP Meet and Greets before her shows.  A portion of the proceeds from the meet and greets benefit the foundation. The VIP Meet and Greet include sound check attendance, exclusive signed gift bag of goodies, and a personal one on one with Brandi and The Twins where you get to hang out, talk about whatever you want, take pictures, and feel the love Brandi and The Twins have for everyone.  It is an incredible experience that is well worth the money.

Every musician has fans.

Some have groupies. A very small group of musicians such dedicated fans that they form groups and get a name. I’m sure you’ve heard of Deadheads, Parrotheads, Little Monsters, Stans, Beliebers, but you’ve probably never heard of Bramily. Brandi Carlile’s fan group is Bramily but it’s much more than that! Bramily is amazing group of human beings that are family…united at first by their love of Brandi’s music but then evolving into a communal family distributed across the world.  Bramily support each other unconditionally, are generous and kind to each other, they sometimes squabble and get on each other’s nerves, but it’s all in the name of love. When going to a show, being with Bramily is just as important as seeing Brandi perform.


There is a real and palpable love and affection for each and every member, just like a real family. Bramily is a testament to who Brandi is, what she believes in, and how she acts and lives her life on a daily basis.  

I posted the questions online “What is Bramily and what does it mean to you?” online today and while I wish I could share every response, there just isn’t the time. Here are a few examples: “Bramily is a reflection of love, community, support, acceptance and exceptional musical taste!”; “Bramily is my community. They are my tribe. They are my village. Connected by music, bound by love.”; and finally, “Bramily is hope and love. It provides acceptance for all, no matter their background, as long as they are open to Brandi’s message. It has helped this guy understand more of the world around him, than just the community and rules he grew up in.”

Brandi’s By The Way I Forgive You tour is on the road until the end of September, coming to a venue or festival near you.

Highlights of this tour include The Caverns in TN for PBS tonight, the Outlaw Music Festival (various states), Newport Folk Festival in RI, Red Rocks in CO, Pilmigrage Festival in TN, and the inaugural Sea.Hear.Now. Festival in Asbury Park NJ. Buy the album and listen to it from start to finish. Repeat until you feel something, and tears are running down your cheeks (only kidding). Join this amazing family as you will be welcomed into it with open and loving arms, go and see a live show and you will be amazed by the musicianship, love, energy, and emotion you will feel.  Repeat when wanted or necessary. By the way, I forgive you if you don’t go to a show but you are truly missing out on an amazing experience. Peace and love to you all.

Tour Dates!


Shutter 16 Magazine:

Tune In To Our Podcast: