It’s not so much that Pacific Northwest-born singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile gets bigger each year, it’s that she increases in popularity and import seemingly every single day.
Truly, the 41-year-old Ravensdale, Washington-born Carlile is one of the hardest-working artists around. Whether she’s releasing a best-selling memoir (Broken Horses) or acclaimed LPs (By the Way, I Forgive You and In These Silent Days), or whether she’s supporting new voices in the industry and celebrating its legends, the multi-time Grammy Award-winning Americana standout seems to be at the center of just about everything.
But along with writing songs like “The Joke” and “The Story,” what has Carlile written for other artists? What work has she done behind the scenes? Let’s find out.
1. “The Wheels of Laredo,” Tanya Tucker
Written by Brandi Carlile, and Phil and Tim Hanseroth
Along with musical heroes like Joni Mitchell and Elton John, Brandi Carlile has worked closely with the country legend Tanya Tucker, who even has a new documentary out called, The Return of Tanya Tucker Featuring Brandi Carlile. Prior to the film, in 2019, Tucker released her first album in 17 years since her 2002 offering, Tanya. The record, While I’m Livin’, came about largely at Carlile’s urging, seemingly resurrecting Tucker when she thought her career might have wound down. Carlile co-produced that album, too. And it features the song, “The Wheels of Laredo,” which was written by Carlile and her longtime collaborators, twin musicians Phil and Tim Hanseroth.
In fact, Carlile and the Hanseroth twins are credited with co-writing seven songs on Tucker’s 2019 album, along with one more on the bonus vinyl edition. On the formal album, the trio wrote the songs, “Mustang Ridge,” “I Don’t Owe You Anything,” “The Day My Heart Goes Still,” “Rich,” “Seminole Wind Calling” and co-wrote “Bring My Flowers Now” with Tucker, the song that helped spark the collaboration at the outset. On the bonus vinyl, the three also wrote, “The Winner’s Game.”
2. “Same Old You,” Miranda Lambert
Written by Brandi Carlile
In 2011, Miranda Lambert released her then-latest LP, Four the Record. The 14-track (15, if you got the deluxe edition) record featured a number of co-writers, including Brandi Carlile, who opened the song, “Same Old You.” Other big-name contributors included Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, and Chris Stapleton.
While Carlile was captured on a fan-shot video not long ago singing the song (see HERE), the track is not on any of her own studio albums. In fact, the one comment on the YouTube fan-shot video was, “I wish she would have recorded it on the album.” Although it was written around the time Carlile was putting songs together for her 2012 album, Bear Creek, it looks like Lambert reaped the benefits of that. Check out Lambert’s version of the melancholy song below.
3. – 5. “Mississippi,” “King Cotton” and “Little Again,” The Secret Sisters
Written by Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth, Laura Rogers & Lydia Rogers
Brandi Carlile has a friendship and musical connection with the Muscle Shoals, Alabama-formed duo known as The Secret Sisters. Comprised of sisters Laura and Lydia, the two have worked with Carlile on a number of tracks. They’ve also performed live together a myriad of times.
In fact, Carlile invited The Secret Sisters to open a few shows for her in 2015. That’s when she got to hear some of their then-new work. She became so enthralled with it that she was producing their next album, You Don’t Own Me Anymore. On that 2017 record, Carlile helped to pen three songs, “Mississippi,” “King Cotton” and “Little Again.”
The songs were recorded at Carlile’s home studio in Seattle, as were songs for the duo’s 2020 LP, Saturn Return. Prior to that, before the 2015 shows, Carlile had come across the sisters through a friend, T Bone Burnett, and she helped to write songs for an earlier album, the 2014 LP, Put Your Needle Down. Carlile helped pen three songs on that album, too, “Rattle My Bones,” “Black And Blue” and “Bad Habit.”
Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images