Brandi Carlile is currently in the midst of an acoustic tour, during which she and her band – twin brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth and cello player Josh Neumann – are playing her 2007 album The Story in its entirety. This week, she returned to Nashville’s hallowed Ryman Auditorium, including in her set a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”
Carlile’s version of the 1973 Grammy-nominated tune beautifully captures the anguish of Parton’s original and showcases Carlile’s soaring, impassioned vocals. Because Parton’s “Jolene” is one of the Country Music Hall of Famer’s signature tunes, it’s fitting that Parton in turn delivers what is considered Carlile’s signature song on an upcoming LP. As its title suggests, Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of the Story – An Album to Benefit War Child does pay homage to the singer’s 2007 breakthrough album and its proceeds will benefit the War Child UK organization, which supports children affected by conflict in war-torn countries. Parton’s version of “The Story,” the title cut from Carlile’s acclaimed 2007 album produced by T Bone Burnett.
Parton was the first artist to sign on for the project, which also includes Adele, Kris Kristofferson, My Morning Jacket, Old Crow Medicine Show, and a searing punk rendition of Carlile’s “Again Today” by Pearl Jam. Carlile contacted Parton via a handwritten letter and even mentioned she could drop the song’s key should it be too high for the iconic (and good-natured) performer. When Parton replied to accept, she added the song’s original key would be fine. Carlile told the Ryman crowd that Parton’s version actually sings higher notes than in the original to, as she put it, “take my ass to school.”
Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of the Story – An Album to Benefit War Child also features Miranda Lambert, singing harmonies with Anderson East on “Josephine” and Margo Price. The LP’s humanitarian effort was inspired her daughter Evangeline, the singer’s first child with her wife, Catherine Shepherd, whom she married in 2012. The album is out May 5th on Legacy Recordings.