Forgiveness in Unforgiving Times: Brandi Carlile’s By the Way, I Forgive You

By Mercedes Mill

Brandi Carlile’s most recent release, By the Way, I Forgive You (Low Country Sound/Elektra Records) is a revelation. On a recent long-distance road trip from city centers to mountaintops, it played on repeat as I took in breathtaking glimpses of America, propelled by Carlile’s soaring voice. In the midst of these unforgiving times, Carlile offers up a moving collection of songs — powerful meditations on love, resilience, and forgiveness.

Produced by Shooter Jennings and Dave Cobb, Carlile’s sixth studio album features her ever-dynamic collaboration with long-time co-creators Tim and Phil Hanseroth. The record covers far-reaching musical ground, with songs gliding seamlessly from soft singer-songwriter reflections to resonant roots rock, accented with the poignant orchestral arrangements of the late Paul Buckmaster.  The penetrating lyrics and haunting instrumentation reverberate with today’s complex truths. “By the way, I forgive you,” the chorus on the very first song, is a spiritual salve that serves as the album title and sets the tone throughout. 

“Earth is forgiveness school,” writer Anne Lamott affirms. “It begins with forgiving yourself — then you might as well start at the dinner table.”  On the rousing folk rock anthem, “Hold Out Your Hand,” Carlile vividly sings out about living through tough times and the grace of reaching out for one another.

But there are reminders throughout that forgiveness doesn’t come easy. “I have suffered for the peace inside my mind,” she confesses on “Harder to Forgive.”  Her stunning voice more powerful than ever, Carlile inspires new perspectives on holding out hope and bridging divisions.  Intimate and transcendent, these are songs for our times.  |  fb  |   buy

Mercedes Mill

Mercedes Mill

Mercedes Mill is a singer-songwriter and member of Americana duo The Glimpses, rooted in folk, country blues, Memphis soul and rock ‘n’ roll. A lifelong lover of music, poetry, and writing, Mercedes has also written for Blues Matters! magazine.
Mercedes Mill

Comments are closed.