Reviews for Broken Horses

by Brandi Carlile

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The multiple Grammy Awardwinning troubadour chronicles her life and career so far.Carlile has quite a story to tell, and she digs deep into her memories of her formative years in the Pacific Northwest: poverty, evictions, transience, familial struggles with alcoholism and depression, and the meningitis that put her into a coma and accelerated her exit from childhood. Early in her adolescence, she knew she was gay, which brought a host of other challenges, not least because I was told for most of my childhood by multiple sources that to be gay was a one-way ticket to hell. Throughout the narrative, Carlile shows acute grace and clarity as she follows her navigation of certain rites of passage. Participating in her familys band, she was a precocious child who loved the spotlight. After dropping out of high school, she continued her musical development with her own band and subsequent solo career. A turning point arrived with her collaboration with twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth, established fixtures on the Seattle scene who added vocal and instrumental richness and increased her credibility with her expanding audience. Like many musicians, Carlile had run-ins with labels and producers and experienced the physical and mental suffering that a balance of recording and touring can inflict. Then theres the personal side: falling in love and fighting for the right to get married as a gay woman, have children, and take her children on tour. Along with lyrics and snapshots that suggest a scrapbook, the author provides crucial behind-the-scenes insight into her rise to stardom. Especially illuminating are her descriptions of the process of creating such songs as The Story and The Joke, showing how her personal struggles strengthened her art. The story builds to her Grammy triumphs, her role in the Highwomen supergroup, her co-production of childhood hero Tanya Tucker, and her friendships with Joni Mitchell, Elton John, and the Obamas. With plenty more likely to come, the memoir ends on a high note.An intimate, life-affirming look at a musician whose artistic journey is far from over. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The multiple Grammy Award–winning troubadour chronicles her life and career so far. Carlile has quite a story to tell, and she digs deep into her memories of her formative years in the Pacific Northwest: poverty, evictions, transience, familial struggles with alcoholism and depression, and the meningitis that put her into a coma and accelerated her exit from childhood. Early in her adolescence, she knew she was gay, which brought a host of other challenges, not least because “I was told for most of my childhood by multiple sources that to be gay was a one-way ticket to hell.” Throughout the narrative, Carlile shows acute grace and clarity as she follows her navigation of certain rites of passage. Participating in her family’s band, she was a precocious child who loved the spotlight. After dropping out of high school, she continued her musical development with her own band and subsequent solo career. A turning point arrived with her collaboration with twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth, established fixtures on the Seattle scene who added vocal and instrumental richness and increased her credibility with her expanding audience. Like many musicians, Carlile had run-ins with labels and producers and experienced the physical and mental suffering that a balance of recording and touring can inflict. Then there’s the personal side: falling in love and fighting for the right to get married as a gay woman, have children, and take her children on tour. Along with lyrics and snapshots that suggest a scrapbook, the author provides crucial behind-the-scenes insight into her rise to stardom. Especially illuminating are her descriptions of the process of creating such songs as “The Story” and “The Joke,” showing how her personal struggles strengthened her art. The story builds to her Grammy triumphs, her role in the Highwomen supergroup, her co-production of childhood hero Tanya Tucker, and her friendships with Joni Mitchell, Elton John, and the Obamas. With plenty more likely to come, the memoir ends on a high note. An intimate, life-affirming look at a musician whose artistic journey is far from over. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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