Concert review: Brandi Carlile at Red Butte Garden
Published: July 16, 2012 11:38AM
Updated: July 16, 2012 11:38AM

Brandi Carlile has visited Salt Lake City many times over the years, but in each and every appearance she manages to surprise and delight.

This year, in keeping with the rootsy aesthetic of her fourth album, "Bear Creek," Carlile and her five-piece backing band unplugged themselves to become what the 31-year-old Washington state resident called "The Ragtime Band." It was a unique, and charming, detour from the ordinary.

With mandolin, stand-up bass and fiddle, the six musicians put on an acoustic hootenanny that encompassed her songs "Keep Your Heart Young," "Save Part of Yourself" and a radically different Appalachian take on a sweet ode to her niece, "Caroline," which had been recorded on her third album with her musical idol, Elton John. To cap it all off, Carlile finished the middle part of the set alone on acoustic guitar with "Looking Out."

In between, the rest of the Sunday night show was another lovefest between the crowd at the sold-out Red Butte Garden and Carlile. Much of Carlile’s banter was directed at how the band had been looking forward to the gig and was "over the moon" to be there. With the concert at the end of one tour leg, she told the audience that she wanted "to rock your face off tonight."

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