During the second of her six sold-out concerts at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Brandi Carlile joined Lucie Silvas — the British-born, Nashville-based singer whose vocal ferocity and incisive songwriting are akin to her own — for a thundering cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Dusky and soulful, Silvas’ potent pipes, like Carlile’s extraordinary instrument, are suited to an array of styles, but there’s nothing quite like hearing either singer soar to the heavens on a dramatic power ballad. Witness their encore performance of the 1983 hit, which pours on the pathos for six-and-a-half wondrous minutes, transporting the Ryman audience back four decades.
Aided by twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth on the familiar “turn around, bright eyes” refrain and a guitar solo that, in Carlile’s words, makes “our Eighties dreams come true,” Carlile and Silvas switch lines throughout, as the drama escalates and the song takes off into the blissful pop-cheese stratosphere.
The encore also found Silvas at the piano with Carlile joining in for a radically slowed-down, dreamy take on Roy Orbison’s “You Got It.” As she did on opening night, Tanya Tucker took the stage for a performance of “Bring My Flowers Now,” the Grammy-nominated song she penned with Carlile and the twins for the While I’m Livin’ LP, co-produced by Carlile with Shooter Jennings.
Carlile’s Ryman shows continue tonight with special guest (and fellow Highwoman) Natalie Hemby, then resume Sunday with Lori McKenna, and Monday and Tuesday with Courtney Barnett.