Review: Indie on the Prairie with Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile performed with the ISO two nights.

4 stars

Marsh Symphony on the Prairie, July 23-24; Sean Newhouse,

conductor. Brandi Carlile has a fan base in Indianapolis, growing from her

previous appearances at the Music Mill (May 15-16, 2007), The Vogue (Oct. 13,

2007 and April 6, 2009) and The Murat (Sept. 15, 2009). Yet this pair of

outdoor concerts with the ISO proved special for her, and the devoted minion

hovering close to the stage, singing along, and otherwise generating the kind of

energy that made Friday's occurrences of heat lightening seem like a natural

progression from prairie to sky. Sean Newhouse, in his final appearance with

the ISO as associate conductor, was perfectly paired for Carlile. From his

first appearance with the ISO at Garfield Park in a memorable all-Russian

program, Newhouse has impressed us with his incredible sense of balance

throughout a work, his ability to personalize not only through his body

language, but equally through a dimension of musicality and energy one felt

with Leonard Bernstein on the podium. Carlile generates that same kind of

intimacy. Her lyrics give us snapshots about who she is, how she feels, where

she's come from and where she's heading. She arranged 14 complimentary songs to

showcase the ISO's strings, expected to be split between Friday and Saturday

with some of her standards such as "The Story" as repeats. The rest of the

repertoire featured her backup quartet sans ISO players, who seemed as

engrossed in the songs as the rest of us during these interludes.


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