Brandi Carlile’s second release, The Story, clearly announces the arrival of a big talent. Her songwriting is accomplished, ambitious, and unabashedly emotional, and she puts it across with her huge voice—clear, strong, and passionate. Tastefully produced by T-Bone Burnett, the overall sound is spacious and warm, with subtle ambient touches added for extra texture. Even the relatively stripped-down tunes like “Josephine” and “Downpour” come across as lushly layered. She also rocks several powerchord anthems, particularly the fist-pumping title track, on which she kicks into vocal overdrive for one of the album’s more memorable and intense moments.