Sunday, October 31, 2021

Finished: Brandi Carlile's memoir 'Broken Horses'

 It was about time for a break from my murder, mystery and mayhem reading and delve into a biography. So, on a whim, I tossed Brandi Carlile's "Broken Horses" into the Amazon cart.

Not really sure why. I'm not a particular fan of hers, had barely heard of her and couldn't sing you a song by her and you wouldn't want me to if I could. But I'd heard Shooter Jennings drop her name. I knew she produced Tanya Tucker's album with him. The book description seemed interesting, so I figured: What the heck?

She seemed kind of young (40) to be writing a memoir, especially considering she's not exactly a household name. But it was an interesting read. She's very introspective, admitted overly so, as many artistic types are. Her writing shows she's very aware of her faults and demons and she does a good job of making you feel like you're walking in her shoes.

Having not listened to her music before, I had Alexa play her music while I read her book. That was a new experience and made it more special. She describes her music as Americana, kind of folky, not really country, though she runs with that crowd. It's kind of Joni Mitchell meets Norah Jones. It's not my kind of music but my wife enjoys her now.

She tells some interesting stories having grown up dirt poor in a substance-abusing family. Moved around a lot and had a lot of oddball characters in her life. She is lesbian and it's a theme that is understandably key in her life and growing up. She talks about showing up at her baptism in the Baptist church and being turned away because she didn't answer the "homosexuality" question the way they wanted, which was supposed to have been: "No, I'm not."

Carlile became close with Elton John and the Obamas, and is/was a big fan-girl of Barrack and family.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter she wrote describing the feelings of finally winning a Grammy award. It made me feel happy for her. She definitely had her struggles and battled through them to get to the point where she is now - selling out Madison Square Garden.

If a memoir is written to make people understand the writer, to empathize with them, to make you really feel like they let you inside their life and thoughts, then Brandi Carlile certainly did that. I enjoyed learning more about her. While I probably won't be playing her music much, I will certainly continue to follow her career and life and wish nothing but the best for her.

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