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Brandi Carlile

Author of Broken Horses: A Memoir

20+ Works 435 Members 14 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: OC Weekly

Works by Brandi Carlile

Associated Works

Barbie: The Album (2023) — Contributor, some editions — 12 copies
Unreal Unearth (2023) — Contributor — 10 copies
The Lockdown Sessions (2021) — Contributor — 9 copies
Sheryl [2022 Documentary Film] (2022) — Self — 2 copies
Onward: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2020) — Preformer — 1 copy


Common Knowledge



Full disclosure: I have been a Brandi Carlile fan for a number of years, kicked up a notch in the last few years by the group's "By The Way, I Forgive You" album; the album from her side project with Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby, and Maren Morris: The Highwomen; her stunning performance of her incredible song, The Joke, on the Grammy Awards in 2019; and her oh-so-welcome musical performances shared via Facebook during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. In other words, I already had a favorable bias toward this memoir. But I did not know all that much about Ms. Carlile personally other than that she and her wife, Catherine, have two young daughters.

This memoir painted a fresh and honest and even somewhat dorky (like me!!!) portrait of the artist as a still-to-me young musician: at once surprising and full of the expected moments in the trajectory of a star of Ms. Carlile's caliber--her unabashed thrill when she performed on stage the first time as a child in her native Washington (state); her experimentation with different genres outside the Western Grand Old Opry setting in which she first cut her musical chops; the years of scrimping and cobbling together equipment and resources to continue to put herself in front of a live audience; issues with drinking and drugs (although in the latter case, it was a combination of steroids for her damaged voice and Xanax to help her sleep in the wake of the effect of the steroids). But she also had other obstacles to overcome: being gay in a Baptist family; being gay in a largely anti-gay musical genre; being a woman in a decidedly male-centric musical genre; and her own self-doubt. On the other hand, she boldly contacted and approached music industry people and other celebrities--Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Barack Obama, to name a few--some of whom became friends and mentors; and she has been extremely generous with others, including Tanya Tucker, whose comeback album she produced and which earned Ms. Tucker her first Grammy--when she was in her sixties.

This memoir is also partly a love story written by Ms. Carlile to those people who make up her family--blood or otherwise: her parents, brother, sister; grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins; her wife and daughters; and her band mates, twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth, and their wives and children, all of whom live on a large tract of land owned by Ms. Carlile that contains the cabin she herself built about twenty years ago. And probably the most surprising aspect of the story of Brandi Carlile is her deep spirituality in the face of a Baptist community--and especially its pastor--who rejected her in a crushing way during her teenage years. In fact, in the title track of her Grammy winning "By the Way, I Forgive You," she publicly forgave the pastor who humiliated her. I think Ms. Carlile herself would be probably be equally thrilled and embarrassed by this comment: If you are looking for examples of grace in this world, look no further than Ms. Carlile's memoir.
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bschweiger | 11 other reviews | Feb 4, 2024 |
Never have I ever listened to Brandi Carlile, so I’m not totally sure why I preordered an audio copy of her book from the library, but I did and I am so glad. It was read by the author and the text was supplemented by music between each chapter, as well as bonus tracks at the end. Super good.
littlezen | 11 other reviews | Jan 24, 2024 |
I had marked Brandi Carlile’s memoir to read and reserved it at the library but all reviews suggested the audiobook was superior. After each chapter Brandi delivers stripped down versions of both her songs and songs of artists who have influenced her. The whole thing was superb. Definitely worth more than 5 stars. If you haven’t heard Brandi Carlile or about her life, invest in this audiobook- I’ll be surprised if you’re not won over.
secondhandrose | 11 other reviews | Oct 31, 2023 |
I’m a mega fan of Brandi Carlile. I couldn’t get my hands on this book fast enough and pretty much devoured it. I’ve been knocked out by her voice numerous times and now I’ve been knocked out by her storytelling. What a life she has had thus far... and I’m certain there will be so much more to come. She’s an inspiration not just in music but in life. Love her!
Andy5185 | 11 other reviews | Jul 9, 2023 |



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½ 4.3

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