Brandi Carlile is a singer and songwriter from Washington State. She's released seven albums and won six Grammys. Her most recent album is In These Silent Days, which debuted at number one on Billboard’s folk and rock album charts. It was named one of the best albums of 2021 by Rolling Stone, Stereogum, and more. It was produced by her longtime collaborators Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings. In this episode, Brandi breaks down her song "You and Me on the Rock," and how it was influenced by her wife, by their home, and by Joni Mitchell.
To learn more, visit songexploder.net/brandi-carlile.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You're listening to song exploder, where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made. My name is Rishi case your way.
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did you do a lot of like rehearsal, pre production of this song before you started, actually recording it for real?
I'm very anti rehearsal prior to recording was that
well because I'm-
Chris dishes, I believe that every song has a moment:
and it's a really fragile moment where you write a song and you know it, but you don't
Have it yet like it's still a risk, it could still derail. Anything could still happen, and
It's really the difference between take one and take three where you
go past that moment,
and there is none of that anything that happen- tension anymore and you're past the take that you should have kept,
So if that happens to you at rehearsal, the song loser.
It's rock and roll. You know, and I think rock and roll is a risk,
instead of a genre.
My name is brandy. Carlyle brandy, Carlyle is a singer and songwriter from Washington State she's released seven albums and one six Grammy's her most recent album is in these silent days, which they viewed at number, one on billboards, folk and rock apple charts. It was produced by her long term. Collaborators Dave COD and Sugar Jennings in this episode. Brandy breaks down her song, you and me on the rock and how it was influenced by her wife by the pandemic and by Joanie Mitchell them on Ebay that just you and me
everything had been shut down, all my summer shows had been cancelled because of the pandemic. My life,
things really fundamentally and my wife
can I ve have been married for nearly ten years will be ten years and in September we were shut in
What are two kids full time
all the time and on the
A person has to maintain a certain level of travelling and work, a holler them and that I couldn't
we'll paws on my life or a shut down. So I built a garden.
Like stacked stones and
made these raised beds and,
planted a whole bunch of vegetables in them,
It's like an immediate pouring, my
I into this project,
lyrics came to me one day out in the garden as I was working with these rocks with these stones
I remembered the Sunday school song, though he sing in church. When was little kids build your house on a rock
The concept of it was don't build your house in the sand
build. Your house, in the stream, like build your house on a rock, build your house on something that can't be shaken, something that can't be dissolved.
and I realized no matter
but the world had to throw at me even if it chooses
it's my very identity, which is what I had done by taking away my ability to play music from front of people,
Is to build my house on a rock, and I wrote the letter.
that song in my mind about my wife and kids,
and I started thinking about Joni Mitchell of all because
there is something sunshiny to the song.
And it really got me thinking about what
influence she's had on me, particularly in this era of my life, having into
the whole Joni Mitchell, Blue, Album at Disney Hall in L. A and
Carnegie Hall in New York, city and
experiences were like really immersive
kind of thing that will change your songwriting and,
really thinking about it getting Hetty,
I was thinking man I'm forty years old. I can't sit here.
And be derivative at this point in my life,
and then this other little voice and it's like, but you can once it wasn't. You just give yourself permission to go there.
Just on one song, as I did, I gave myself permission to fully dive down
the Johnny Rabbit Hole on you and on the rock, and I
a member telling him until I got some lyrics and I really want to embrace the Joanie influence one time. So I don't do it every song. So,
I think we should write a song on the dulcimer.
TIM had Seraph and Phil hands off the answer off. Twins
Are my collaborators. My band were a trio.
We've been a trio for about twenty one years, twenty two years, something like that and we write all our songs together and actually live together as well. In fact,
they help me build. That garden.
I had no sense of melody on the song at all or even rhythm of melody until Timmy brought that dulcimer out and
the lyrics that I had written,
just started to appear.
but when I
Recorded the demo, I never meant for anybody to hear me and him and Phil
I didn't even want to send it to Dave Cobb. You know, because I knew that he would say it's to Joanie and that's really what he said to Johnny.
Natural first enter my life in a couple of really
profound ways, T bone Burnett
me blue. When I was making
The story with him in my early is early twenties
and we listen to all. I want. First,
We got to the line that said, I wanna talk to you want to shampoo you I want to talk and I was appalled I was like turn it off. No, I cannot abide that lyric. I can't I cannot forgive it. I could
forgive the innocence of it. I couldn't forgive this film.
submissive. To me I couldn't forgive it for being
what I believed was so feminine in May:
I mean first of all, I don't know if I'd been in love at that point in my life I certainly didn't ever want to shampoo anyone at that point in my life, but I just I couldn't because it just didn't feel tough to me.
and there is something about it that I needed to to shut down cut to. I meet my
she's from London and
I'm from the? U S, and so we don't get to date. If we're gonna going,
on a day it's gonna be like a week somewhere in a hotel or cabin when we're gonna be going at dinner and like thrown into the fire of seeing if we can coexist.
and so we had this cabin in northern Michigan and we brought an album and hers was blue.
And she put blue on and island.
did the lyric announced like I'd turn it off the scientists. I can't I cannot without Lyric,
and she stops it and she's
like I don't know what
say even is if you can't get your head around Joanie Mitchell, like your thirty years old, it's time to put together
I was like. I just don't think it's tough,
and she's. I do know what little green is about and I didn't answer
only that little Green was about joining the troll, getting pregnant on our own and giving birth to
a little baby. You she tried to support for the better part of a year and then
and having to give up for adoption, and she puts the song on an link in floods of terrorists, because
it was the toughest song I'd ever heard in my life
it wasn't just like a little,
is very tough. It was like
have been wrong my whole life about what tough, even means
is that much of a revelation and a pivot so
Johnny hasn't just chain
give me as an artist she's changed me as a woman. You know because she's giving me some insight into it. It mean
femininity really means,
vulnerability is in fact tougher than anything I had
Been able to understand prior to that experience,
so we were in the studio and we hide transfer the song from Darfur to refuse to Qatar, because Joanie owns the dose of her temples guitar.
Cobb was playing led guitar, like some kind of picking thing, and he gave it a little bit more of a country lilt and it started to get grounded in some of the american music. That makes me really feel like who I am so pleased.
and he's actually quite an underrated bass, player and then Chris Pals is an amazing, incredibly musical drummer that toured with us for the last couple of years. It's an income,
readily busy drum part, but he
is playing so light. It felt like with pencils,
we record our whole band in one room all at once, because that's really what we know how to do the best everything else comes off disconnected for us even
we play like a big stage, we're so close together that we're hitting each other with the heads of our guitars because we have to play off each other. We actually don't know how to be separate. So in a studio I can't be isolated and they can't either it just doesn't work we're not who we are, that way and houses on frozen in the summertime. When it's gone,
I was thinking back to
my childhood and our
my bus stop used to be across the street from a pond, and
I used to love this little pond and it was like seasonal. You know it would be dry or it'd be there. It would freeze
where we go out there and her eyes. Gate on end was really dangerous years later I
grew up in I member driving past a place where pond used to be there was a house on it, built on the air
Now that I knew full well we'd be a pond in a couple of months. It was a brand new house with fences and the rolled out lawn and
like what I don't know. That's going to flood, I know, but they don't know I have.
Will the like? I guess a little bit of humor in it, but I still feel bad for the family who yes, I've I drive by and see it flooded all the time.
shooter journeys by the piano his
fluttery, it has the ability to just take off and fly up into the air without
the thing holding it down. There is me some weight net piano, makes
what I'm saying sound important
I also like that you can hear me.
And all the guitars and everything in the room in those piano MIKE's
in the case of the distance, this burger Gandhi glued, listen, and do you think the guard
it was a place that I would go to work and
to get my heart pumping, but also to
have some control over something? You know I was a lot of chaos in the world and I would
go out there and work in the garden. While my wife, my buddy, was out on these
walks in it's occurred to me that you know that was all the distance that I needed really from her
There was something really feminine about the sentiment I couldn't
stop thinking about it and
I thought. Well, you know what I don't want to hear guys on this song with me
just wanted it to sound. Like women. Like
the connection between women, and so
I recorded the harmonies myself at first day with you, but it just.
Sounded like three mes.
I then everything we've been and then
I thought of Lucius
the band Lucius saying
in my blue ban their backing.
circles were just so perfect and so
I sent it to them and they wrote the background vocal for it and
took the song to a totally. I totally
different place every day with you,
I know everything we've been through.
and here is conveying without you
I don't need do in May.
I feel so much more comfortable with my feminine
the end and out of music than I ever did before
I realize it's not tied to the way. I look. I realize it's not tied to whether or not my voice is low or high in any given song. It's even tied to my lyrics
I know it's innate and
I'm raising two little women and married to one
the feminine is central to my life.
Too bad you and me.
I knew the song was really special and
was very Joanie, and I knew I was going to have to play at Virginia some day
friends with Joanie after her seventy fifth birth,
a celebration in a flu.
Situation, my wife bound up soon,
an afternoon with Joni and like by default.
Get invited to dinner with Joni Mitchell, as, like my wife state,
that's when me in Joanie, came up with the idea of doing jams journeys house once a month to do music together. So
I see the song through and I just took the unmixed
version of that song straight to Jenny's house.
Have a glass of wine
in player the song, and I told her everything that I've said today. You know she nodded, but she didn't offer any commentary and said I will tear them.
And so we go into the living room and
I put it on and she's leaned forward in her chair with her wine in her hand, and she
a groove into a little bit and I'm watching and I'm just thinking like. Oh my God was she
I say this thing's going to end and she's going to look at me and she's going to say you know
you ought to do this. You need to carve out your own path,
something that would you know.
and the song ends. Then she
Supplementary smiles and she goes sounds like a hit.
sounds like a hit. She said.
For my family. I just decided to just not be apart from him if I can help it
so I guess maybe the longest. I've ever been away from my wife or kids profile.
and even then I've totally panicked. I'm quite
codependent person and I think I'm going to Staffed, where that is a badge of honor, because if I was ever going to learn to be alone, I would have had to do it before forty years old. I think- and
in my family with me. Is it
important to me, but I can see now that it's important to them,
the two were doing this together when we got shut down,
Let's talk about it, but we did worry about money and
When I was in that garden,
That song, I was thinking about what
Enough looks like do,
have what I need and- and I did.
and now here's you and me on the rock by Brandi Carlile in its entirety,
again. The stone masons rings all day long city, everything we do need money baby. Just you and me you lanes, went like a seminar, is now wonder, enlarging looking, so she lemon do let's drink and say something that we do not just you and me it's it's. A dangerous do in May
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.