Small-town Washington girl Brandi Carlile's career has been the stuff musical dreams — and sometimes actual musicals — are made of. She learned to play guitar at 17 and moved to Seattle for a couple of years of acoustic gigging, releasing several independent records along the way. Columbia Records signed her at 23; now 25, she came under producer T-Bone Burnett's wing for second major-label effort The Story. Her evolution from pleasant-enough folk-rocker to powerful force speaks to both Carlile's talent and her drive. Her vocal and songwriting chops recall Kim Richey or the Indigo Girls (with whom she recently toured), and Rolling Stone recently named her an "Artist to Watch." Now billed atop VH1's "You Oughta Know" tour, with A Fine Frenzy's willowy piano-folk supporting, Carlile has a future as big as she wants to make it.
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