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Brandi Carlile returns to musical roots
Songbird comes to Turlock
Brandi Carlile Photo Summer 2012
Singer Brandi Carlile is performing at the Turlock Community Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday. - photo by Photo Submitted

If there was a time when music wasn’t an essential part of Brandi Carlile’s life, she doesn’t remember it.

As a youngster in the small community of Ravensdale, Wash., Carlile spent many a night singing in jam sessions with her great-grandmother, grandfather, mother, and brothers and sisters.

“I’ve been singing and performing music since I was seven, so I don’t ever remember making a conscious decision to be a musician,” Carlile says on her website. “I would’ve had to have made a conscious decision not to be a musician.”

Carlile spent her teen years and early 20s experimenting with different styles and sounds and fine-tuning her voice and musical talent. Now, at the age of 32, the songbird of the Northwest has developed a faithful fan base that she delights with her strong vocal range and emotionally stirring songs.

Carlile has been touring for nearly a decade and routinely sells out venues across the country. On Friday, she’ll be taking the stage at the Turlock Community Theatre, along with her six-piece band, including twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth, her co-collaborators.

The alternative country and folk artist’s newest album, “Bear Creek” is her fifth release and features a style more reminiscent of her live shows that a studio production. With songs that reflect childhood memories, loves lost and found, and faith, “Bear Creek” is Carlile’s most revealing album to date.

“It scares me how much of who we are is in this album,” Carlile said.

“Bear Creek” is named after the studio where it was recorded. Tucked in among the towering trees in Woodinville, Wash., the studio is a converted turn-of-the-century barn that encapsulated the pared down quality Carlile wanted for her album.

“Bear Creek is very similar to home for all three of us — musically, you’d be amazed at how you act when you feel at home,” Carlile said.

“Bear Creek” also gave Carlile the first opportunity to take the reins on producing. Her past albums have been produced by T Bone Burnett and Rick Rubin.

“I would liken working with A-list producers to going to college,” Carlile said. “You don’t want to be a perpetual student. At some point, you need to apply your knowledge.”