Brandi Carlile

When Brandi Carlile sings “The Story,” the title track from her 2007 album, her voice strains and pulls. She belts out, “All of these lines across my face/ tell the story of who I am”—and the pain Carlile feels is palpable and raw. The Ravensdale native sounds more polished on her latest release, Give Up the Ghost, produced by the hit-making Rick Rubin, who’s known for his ability to blend vocals and instrumentation seamlessly. Even if her instrumentals are a little more pop and less country this time around, Carlile’s lyrics are still as heartwrenching as ever on Give Up the Ghost, an album about unmet expectations and dreams deferred. She’s the kind of songwriter that opens her emotional veins wide: “I close my eyes, I think of you/ I take a step, I think of you/ I catch my breath, I think of you,” she sings on “Looking Out.” Yet her swirling guitars and brushed drums are so charming that it’s tempting to forget the emotions Carlile is laying bare. But then there’s a song like “Dreams,” the album’s single, where she belts out, “I have dreams,” with a conviction that verges on desperation. Suddenly, her pain is all too real and her songs all too beautiful to forget. With Katie Herzig. All ages. PAIGE RICHMOND

Sat., Oct. 24, 8 p.m., 2009