ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Sept. 23, 2011
Brandi CarlileZilker Park, Sept. 16
Good thing Brandi Carlile had a killer arrangement of "Dreams" handy, since drummer Allison Miller practically stole the show from the Seattle singer by tearing off an opening drum flourish with energy usually reserved for an encore. It was Carlile's moment though – her first appearance at ACL – and she rose to it with lyrical and vocal aplomb amid rain-freshened air that made for cushy seating in the grass. Which wasn't where most of her fans were – they were on their feet, thousands of them, cheering her on for "Closer to You" and "The Clock." A cover of "Jackson" segued into Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," sounding as tough as the hard-bitten convict in the song. That's Carlile's strength: a voice of strength and character as believable as her own music, in which such songs as "The Story" are written from the heart so exquisitely as to sound familiar upon first listen.