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PopTop: Symphony arrangements bring Carlile songs to life
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Grade: A-

CD • At long last comes a live album from Washington-based rocker Brandi Carlile, who has never captured the unbridled spirit of her live performances on any of her studio albums.

Interestingly enough, it took the Seattle Symphony to finally show Carlile's command and charisma on tape. "Live At Benaroya Hall" shows Carlile and her band at their best.

The 30-piece orchestra adds depth, drama and soul to Carlile's best songs and some well-chosen covers, including "The Sound of Silence," "Halleljuah" and "Sixty Years On," by her mentor Elton John.

Culled from two sold-out shows in November at the venerated Seattle concert venue, Carlisle's emotional, well-crafted songs are gloriously illustrated with the help of exquisite arrangements from conductor Sean O'Loughlin and the legendary Paul Buckmaster, best known for his arranging work for John.

— David Burger

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