See Brandi Carlile's Powerful 'Joke' on 'Ellen'

Singer-songwriter smiles as she belts lead single from chart-topping new album 'By the Way, I Forgive You'

Brandi Carlile performs "The Joke" on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show.'

Brandi Carlile's "The Joke" felt like an instant classic upon its release earlier this year, but beyond its powerful message it's easy to miss one rather basic point: the song must be a hell of a lot of fun to sing. On The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday morning, Carlile was all smiles as she stopped by to play it.

A match, in many ways, for Carlile's signature tune "The Story," "The Joke" gleans its power in part from her assured, note-perfect vocal delivery. There are none of the ragged, emotional cracks and fissures that brought "The Story" so fully to life, just purpose and resolute self-belief. So there's something particularly fun about seeing Carlile on the Ellen stage, swaying and grinning and skittering in place, nearly having to rush back to the mic in time to catch the next bar – but still, of course, never missing a beat.

Carlile has every reason to be having a blast right now, too. The singer-songwriter's new LP By the Way, I Forgive You, topped three different album charts and landed at Number Five on a fourth one, the Billboard 200. Her next tour stop is June 8th at Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario.