Give Up the Ghost
Brandi Carlile’s a young singer-songwriter with incredible range and a sense for drama that comes whipping through her third album, Give Up the Ghost. Produced by Rick Rubin, Ghost sits Carlile at centerstage. Guests such as keyboardist Benmont Tench, Red Hot Chili Pepper drummer Chad Smith (on two tracks) and master string arranger Paul Buckmaster (on one) are in low profile mode. Even “Pride and Joy,” the Buckmaster-featured tune that shares its sense of foreboding (and a few chords) with Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees,” is kept surprisingly mute as it reaches its climax. “Dreams” creates a small-band vibe that veers towards hard rock. “That Year” is a gentle ballad that allows her voice to stretch towards the sky. “Caroline” adds Elton John on piano and vocals and falls within his early-70s form. “I Will” serves as a personal affirmation with its repetitive, elliptical pattern. “If There Was No You” is a sweet, affirming love song with co-writer Phil Hanseroth providing a whistling solo.