Nearing the end of a two-month solo tour, Brandi Carlile delivered a special evening for industry and licensing at the Largo at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles on Dec. 12. Carlile, who generally tours with the twin brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth, used the tour to preview new songs pegged for a spring release on Columbia Records, a few covers and to perform the demo versions of a few of her more popular tunes.
Among the new material, Carlile offered her first attempt at a blues-gospel style tune, "That Wasn't Me," which sprang from her hitting a wrong chord on the piano near her front door; "Raise Hell," the song she performed at the Grand Old Opry in November; and Tim Hanseroth's "Keep Your Heart Young," a tune that she believes establishes his country credentials. In keeping the season, she sang her maudlin "Christmas 1984" and followed it with a song she referred to as being "even sadder than that," "The Heartache Can Wait."
Duffy McSwiggin of Paradigm Agency, Carlile's booking agent, put together the evening and was the only one attending who did not have a seat in the 220-capacity theater. Carlile's publisher Warner Chappell was well represented by VP Greg Sowders and Jessica Cutri and Cecilia Harvey from the publisher's film and TV licensing division. Also on hand were music supervisor Nora Felder and Columbia's Jonathan Palmer, who handles visual placement pitches for the label's artists. Famous for banishing anyone who would dare turn on an electronic device inside the venue, not one photograph surfaced from the show or the meet and greet that followed.
While conversation in the Largo courtyard was clearly focused on Carlile and her other L.A. shows -- triumphs at the Troubadour, House of Blues and Wiltern were discussed as was her show the night before at Santa Monica's Broad Stage -- the whispers concerned another Columbia artist, Leonard Cohen. A hush-hush listening session -- with Cohen in attendance -- was scheduled for Dec. 13 and a few of those lucky enough to be invited were wondering what to wear. Ultimately, they decided there was no way to compete when you know who the coolest guy in the room is going to be.