Brandi Carlile Live at Western Washington University, Continued

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And 'woohoo' they do. In fact, the Bellingham crowd is a continual reminder that Carlile is teetering on the fence between regional sweetheart and national rock star. Carlile's family members are dotted throughout the crowd as are a handful of 'woohooing' superfans.
Carlile's 19-year-old sister Tiffany joins her on stage during the encore to perform "Calling All Angels." Carlile then follows up with a performance of "Wasted," a song she wrote when she was "real real angry" at her 23-year-old brother Jay.

If shining wisdom passed your lips and traveled to the ears of God, you'd waste it.

Earlier in the show, Carlile explains why her parents couldn't make it to the performance, "And I quote: 'Dad made pot roast.'"

When she spots her grandmother in the front row, she asks "Didn't mom and dad invite you over for pot roast?"

With authenticity being such a precious commodity these days in popular music, it seems Carlile's fans are hungry for the type of earnest lyrics and homespun banter she serves up. The reason her rural log cabin makes a great story is the same reason Carlile's fans attend show after show -- an uncommon authenticity and a welcoming accessibility.

No matter how heavy a song's content, during a live performance she punctuates each one with a genuine smile that changes her face from pensive to playful. Surprisingly, Carlile's personality is quite cheerful for someone who usually writes from a fairly dark place.

"I write a lot about things I'm not certain about; things that keep you up at night.

And I write a lot from a place of being worried. ... I stress and worry about people in my family and my friends and the hard times they have. .. I don't want to worry, and if I can write the song and get it out and get it done with, it really alleviates that stress."

For now, Carlile has no plans to change her lyrical focus from emotional and personal to political or issue-driven.

"It would be a lie for me to say that is something I'm passionate about right now. Maybe sometime in my life I will be, and at times in the past, I have been. But if I were to do that right now, it would be a lie."

"Maybe someday I can care less about myself," she says as she effusively laughs at her own expense.

That's not to say she is without her social hot buttons. Because of her own experiences growing up in a school system without many music programs, Carlile feels a certain responsibility to help raise awareness for arts funding in education.

"In high school, the only thing I wasn't into was high school. ... I feel like if there were more music programs in school, kids like me that couldn't excel academically could feel like there was something they could excel at.

"When you're in school, the things that you do and that you excel at aren't there, so you feel like you're dumb or something because you go to school and you don't excel at math. And I think that's the case for a lot of kids. In high school, I would have been a lot more into school if there had been more choirs and bands and musical programs."

Luckily for Carlile and her fans, music was an integral part of her home life, starting with her mother, also a singer. With that seed planted in her youth, Carlile cultivated a rich talent by teaching herself to sing and play the piano and the guitar.

"Basically whatever my brother tries to play, I'll try to play it better."

With her first performance at 8-years-old, Carlile is now somewhat of a seasoned performer. While many people her age might be feeling restless or unsure about their careers and their futures, Carlile seems one-hundred percent committed to her career as a singer/songwriter.

"I don't get tired of performing ever. That always seems new every time I do it and everywhere I do it. I get tired of driving sometimes and sleeping in hotels, but I never get tired of performing. ... There's always a way to add new life to a song. You'll sing a lyric a different way or you'll have a cello play in the bridge and it always feels new to me."
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