Album: Bear Creek
Release Date: June 5
Local Show(s): Nov. 23 and 24, Benaroya Hall, with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra
After two well-received record with the biggest producers in the business -- Rick Rubin and T-Bone Burnett -- Carlile turned to a knob-twiddler with decidedly fewer bonafides on the other side of the board: herself. The result, Bear Creek, is the best album of the Ravensdale-born artist's career. Carlile's voice is more self-assured than it's been in the past, and the songwriting -- highlights include "A Promise to Keep" and the Dixie Chick-esque "Hard Way Home" -- is as compelling as it's ever been, straddling the strong side of the adult/country line.