In her short, three-record career, Brandi Carlile has already worked with two of the most bankable producers in the business. For 2007's The Story, she enlisted the support of T-Bone Burnett, who's won Grammys and helped sell millions of records for the likes of The Wallflowers and, of course, the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. For last year's Give Up the Ghost, she brought in Rick Rubin, who's produced albums for the likes of the Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, and System of a Down. When we spoke to her last week about her local self-defense campaign, Fight the Fear, we asked her about the producers.
What's the difference between working with T-Bone Burnett and Rick Rubin?
Everything's different. There are more differences than there are things in common.
I would say one of the most poignant differences is sonically T-Bone desires a little bit of a more warmer darker sound whereas Rick likes a much more direct, brighter, abrasive sound, which are both really cool and both really organic. T-Bone is kind of a collaborator in the studio. He's there in the studio with us working, playing guitars, singing songs. And I think Rick values his listening ears more than his participation.
So, you're in the studio more with T-Bone than with Rick?
Yeah, never with Rick.
(Drummer) Matt Chamberlain told me T-Bone had a phenomenal collection that he pulls out while he's working with artists in the studio.
That is absolutely true. When we mad The Story, I think we listend to like a hundred times more music than we actually recorded. He has this incredible collection of Delta blues music that nobody has or owns. What he was doing was he was trying to select songs for the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss record (Raising Sand) while we were making The Story. We ended up listening to probably hundreds and hundreds of songs in the studio.