3 Brandi Carlile Songs That Will Make Any Americana Fan Tear Up

Brandi Carlile is one of the most emotive singers out today. The Americana artist from the Pacific Northwest boasts that signature, tear-jerking vibrato that sounds like a redwood tree creaking with age and experience. It’s timeless and gut-wrenching.

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And to her credit, Carlile knows just when to use her stunning voice and how to get the most out of both it and you, the listener. To wit, these three songs here below are some of the most heartbreaking songs. Almost guaranteed to induce a tear from your eye. Let’s explore.

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1. “The Mother”

This song comes from Carlile’s 2018 breakout album, By the Way, I Forgive You, and is about her daughter, Evangeline. The song may not be the saddest song anyone has ever heard, but it’s about that touching bond between parent and child, between mother and daughter. It’s enough to swell your heart and bring a tear to your eye. On it, Carlile sings,

Welcome to the end of being alone inside your mind
You tethered to another, and you’re worried all the time
You always knew the melody, but you never heard it rhyme

She’s fair, and she is quiet, Lord, she doesn’t look like me
She made me love the morning, she’s a holiday at sea
The New York streets are as busy as they always used to be
But I am the mother of Evangeline

2. “The Story”

This was Carlile’s first breakout hit single. From her 2007 album of the same name, this track is about love and compatibility. No one is perfect, but sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can find that special person that you’re perfect for and who is perfect for you. That’s the thrust of this tune, which Carlile sings with every ounce of her emotions. On it, she belts,

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am

But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to, it’s true
I was made for you

3. “Party of One”

The original version of this song is also from Carlile’s 2018 album, By the Way, I Forgive You, but because the track was so good, she later recorded a rendition of it with the golden-voiced singer Sam Smith. If harmony had a Platonic Ideal, this song would sure be in the running. On it, the two sing about love, distance and connection. Together, they croon,

Waiter send this to the table, the party of one
The only other lonely soul in this place
And so you’re finishing up your coffee
But then where you’re gonna run?
Where’d you get that look on your face?

You should always let the sun go down on your anger
And let it burn you to sleep
Bring it closer to danger
To surrender and retreat
Sing your sad soul to sleep

I loved you the first time I saw you
And you know I love you still
And I am tired but I am yours

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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