The beginning of Brandi Carlile's story has all the makings of a spectacular CMT
movie of the week: a childhood spent in the isolated foothills of rural
Ravensdale, Washington, teaching herself to sing by listening to Patsy Cline and daydreaming about appearing on the Grand Ole Opry -- until one day her momma got serious and took her to sing on a local country radio show, jumpstarting Carlile's career. Fast forward to the musical montage, where we find a 17-year-old Carlile developing an ear for rock, making a go of it in the big city (Seattle), gigging wherever she can, forming a band with twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth, and gradually building a following out of sweat and determination and raw talent. But then Carlile goes and messes up the whole Sunday matinee movie plot. She skips over the drinking and the failed marriages and the senseless tragedy that usually flesh out these stories and heads straight for the big, triumphant climax: a deal with Columbia to record her self-titled debut and then a whirlwind tour, opening for big names like Chris Isaak and Tori Amos, all at the ripe old age of 23. Carlile headed into the studio with producer T-Bone Burnett to work on sophomore album, 2007's The Story. 2009's Give Up the Ghost featured a collaboration with Carlile's longtime idol, Elton John.