It was only natural for singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile to gravitate toward music. After all, it was pretty much the sole form of entertainment to be had in Ravensdale, the small, isolated Washington town where she grew up. Without a neighbor in sight, the self-taught songstress was free to bellow at the top of her lungs to her parents’ classic country records.
This routine eventually gave way to Carlile’s expressive, powerful pipes that, on occasion, are reminiscent of her country idol Patsy Cline.
By the age of 17, the fresh-face singer learned to play the guitar and piano and was pretty much ready to hit the road. From then on, Carlile began to pay those requisite show business dues by playing everywhere from smoky dive bars to weddings and birthday parties —she even served time as a backup singer for an Elvis impersonator.
Luckily for Carlile, working the local music circuit paid off and led to a few gigs as opening acts for the likes of Dave Matthews and Shawn Colvin. After a string of self-released recordings, Carlile won the attention of Columbia Records and was signed in 2004.
Her self-titled major label debut was well-received by critics; she was even named one of 2005’s “Artists to Watch” by Rolling Stone.
Carlile’s latest release, “The Story,” has been a successful follow-up and has earned her critical kudos on par with her debut. Catch the burgeoning balladeer Saturday when she plays The Fillmore.
Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Contact: Call (415) 346-6000 or www.thefillmore.com