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Bear Creek

205 customer reviews

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Bear Creek + The Firewatcher's Daughter + The Story
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Editorial Reviews

Bear Creek is the fourth studio album Brandi Carlile, hailed as "the best voice in indie rock" by Paste Magazine.

The first single from the album is "That Wasn t Me." The soulful piano-based track showcases the warmth and subtle power of Carlile s vocals. It is the cornerstone of an earthy collection that embraces all of her musical influences folk, pop, country, rock, gospel and blues. From the spirited "Hard Way Home" and chilling country blues of "Raise Hell" to the poignant "Rise Again" and ethereal "Just Kids," Carlile manages to be at once plainspoken and poetic. The rich imagery of "Keep Your Heart Young" evokes childhood dreams with such unerring accuracy it is apt to elicit renewed vows to never grow up while "Save Part Of Yourself" and "100" wistfully underscore the lifetime impact of a lost love.

Named for the studio where most of the album was recorded Bear Creek Studios, which is housed in a converted early 20th century barn near Carlile s hometown of Seattle it features her longtime band mates: Tim and Phil Hanseroth ("The Twins," who co-wrote many of the songs with Carlile and play guitar and bass respectively), drummer/percussionist Allison Miller and cellist Josh Neumann plus Dave Palmer on keyboards and Jeb Bows on violin and mandolin. Drummer Matt Chamberlain guests on several tracks.

1. Hard Way Home
2. Raise Hell
3. Save Part Of Yourself
4. That Wasn't Me
5. Keep Your Heart Young
6. 100
7. A Promise to Keep
8. I'll Still Be There
9. What Did I Ever Come Here For
10. Heart's Content
11. Rise Again
12. In The Morrow
13. Just Kids

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 5, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,994 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By terence reisman on June 21, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Okay, I admit it. I'm a 68yo male who loves music of all kinds. And i just finished listening to this new album for the first time with tears in my eyes after hearing the track everyone else seems to dislike: Just Kids. Maybe because I have a daughter Brandi's age and it pushed a "dad-button" but for whatever reason, I love it and the entire album. From the first time I heard Brandi's cds to the first live performance on Cayamo cruise, I connected with her music and knew she had terrific songwriting and musical talent. I look forward to her next live show on Cayamo cruise in January . Keep up the good work, Brandi!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Erik North on June 15, 2012
Format: Audio CD
In a perfect world, or maybe back in the mid-90s when Sheryl Crow was off-the-chart popular, someone like Brandi Carlile would have made in extremely big on her own. Unfortunately, it would seem that artists of this sort, namely the singer/songwriter genre with elements of American roots music, are a thing of the past and anathema on corporate radio.

Still, however, Brandi has clearly persevered. Having released several great albums to date (BRANDI CARLILE; THE STORY; GIVE UP THE GHOST; LIVE AT BENAROYA HALL), her newest one, BEAR CREEK, continues in that vaunted tradition. The rootsy instrumentation of acoustic guitars and occasional Appalachian-style banjos indicates how much the Seattle native has learned from the roots music and Americana movements, notably on the opening two tracks, "Hard Way Home" and "Raise Hell". On all of her albums, including this one, Brandi's voice shows the grittiness of Melissa Etheridge at one point, and the yearning quality of Linda Ronstadt at other times, especially on "A Promise To Keep" and "I'll Still Be There." The brother team of Tim and Phil Hanseroth, who have been with Brandi from the beginning, also aid and abet her here.

With the roots-oriented instrumentation, even with the numerous neo-traditional country influences, Brandi is not the sort of artist that would fit into a country radio format that is so constricted that almost the only women allowed past its doors now are basically Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, or Miranda Lambert, who fit neatly into a certain kind of box or have a certain marketable image. Brandi really doesn't have that, and probably wouldn't know what to do with it if she did because it is simply not who she is.
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40 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Bubsy on June 11, 2012
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
May this review help people enjoy Bear Creek through altered expectations...

Brandi is my favorite. Her previous albums weave tremendously distinct lyrics right through your heart and soul and can bring a tear to your eye with her indescribable delivery. One thing I've always loved is how she sings songs from the heart in a way that ONLY Brandi can sing it. Pride and Joy, Looking Out, The Story, etc. No one else can sings those with her magic.

Sadly, most of this album isn't like that. Some of the songs are standard country style singing totally missing Brandi's heart-wrenching vocal edge. It isn't totally missing.... I'm just used to loving every one of her tracks! Half, at most, resemble the old Brandi. But the writing still doesn't feel the same and the delivery of some songs could be done by many artists. In previous albums the majority of her songs were wonderfully difficult to categorize into a genre. They were so beautifully, mysteriously distinct songs that pulled you into slices of life you didn't know existed. Not so here... a lot of country style and I don't feel enriched or more in touch with life after having heard the songs. Clapping and boot stompin may get (some) audiences going, but I can't say Brandi is who I look to for anything resembling that style.

I wish her all the happiness in the world and perhaps this album reflects that she is finding it.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. Davis TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 5, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Brandi Carlile's fourth studio release features one of the most distinctive and compelling female voices in all of music today, together with the voices of her songwriting partners, twins Tim and Phil Hanseroth, who also play guitar and bass. These three have crafted a classic collection of songs inspired by traditional folk and country, but with a rock-and-roll spine. There is much less of the anguish found in Brandi's previous albums and much more affection for family and friends. Perhaps this is because the band is in a very happy place at the moment and because the music was recorded close to home in a relaxed, woodsy setting.

Carlile is renowned for her ability to belt out a tune, wailing like a banshee, "bending notes until they break" as NPR puts it. But there is far more to her sound than this. Her performances are as expressive and as intimate as those of Bonnie Raitt, k.d. lang, or Adele. They get under your skin and stay there. The Twins' smooth, soaring harmonies crown Brandi's husky voice throughout this recording, joined by Brandi and Dave Palmer on keyboards, Jeb Bows on violin and mandolin, Josh Neumann on cello, and Allison Miller and Matt Chamberlain on drums.

"Bear Creek" kicks off with "Hard Way Home," a terrific uptempo country song that makes the most of Carlile's twangy tone. The next tune, "Raise Hell," begins on banjo, but it quickly introduces bluesy guitars to back a raucous lead vocal. The gentle "Save Part of Yourself" follows with mandolins, handclaps, and an irresistable chorus. The lead single, "That Wasn't Me," is an inspiring, gospel-infused tune with Brandi playing piano; she wrote it for a family member struggling with alcoholism.
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