FAIRBANKS — She’s back, and you get a chance to see her in an almost one-on-one setting.
Brandi Carlile, the Seattle-based alt-rocker/country/folksy chanteuse who’s a Fairbanks favorite, is returning to Alaska for a one-night only performance Thursday at Hering Auditorium. It’s her third visit to Fairbanks, and the state is growing on her.
“I’ve always been really drawn to Alaska my whole life. As a little girl my, dad talked about it, having never been,” she said. “It always seemed like such a mystical land to me. When I started consistently touring the Lower 48, I made a decision early on not to leave Alaska off of the routing. I believe that so much of what makes our country great is happening there. I truly feel a connection to that state and the heart and soul of the people in it.”
The performance comes in the midst of touring for her fifth album, “Bear Creek,” named after the Seattle-area studio in which it was recorded. The album, released June 5, has been a critical hit for Carlile and well received by both critics and fans. It’s also kept her schedule busy; she’s touring practically nonstop in venues across the nation. She did take a break after a solo tour last year but seems eager to keep her fan base happy.
“I was just home for six months after my solo tour” Carlile said. “I did a lot of fishing and acquiring farm animals. I cooked for myself and got engaged. I’m now about three weeks into to a four-week tour and after Alaska I’ve got another month ahead of me.”
‘Bear Creek’ shows some growth for the artist, and that growth isn’t something that has escaped Carlile’s attention. She likened previous albums to “really intense learning experiences” that helped hone her talents under immense pressure.
“I think that’s how human beings learn most of their big lessons, resulting in a beautiful process and product,” she said. “‘Bear Creek’ was the application of these lessons in a really free and fun way.”
The album has caught the eye of critics, and it’s poised to make Carlile a household name. But she takes her burgeoning fame in stride, balancing her fan base with her passion for music in a no-nonsense, down-to-earth fashion.
“To me, success and mainstream don’t belong in the same sentence,” Carlile said. “I don’t mean that to sound high minded or idealistic but at this point in my life I tend to define success in domestic and spiritual terms. I’m very pleased with the reception that ‘Bear Creek’ has received as an album; it made my year the great success that I hoped it would be.”
If you go
What: Alt-country rocker Brandi Carlile
Where: Hering Auditorium
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday July 19
Tickets: Available online at various ticket outlets and at www.brandicarlile.com/events
Contact features editor Gary Black at 459-7537.