The album and song have been out for a two years now, if you’re a Brandi Carlile fan, this won’t be news.
I’ve heard a few of her songs but I’ll admit, I hadn’t know the massive talent she is until her performance. She fits into the the country lineage I love from Patsy Cline to Linda Ronstadt to kd lange to Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris and on…
Last night the openly gay Carlile performed The Joke at The Grammys and that crowd came to their feet for one of the few times in the night.
It was the first track to be released from By The Way, a country-rock power ballad dedicated to the delicate boys and striving girls born into this divisive time.
She told Rolling Stone last year.
“Everything that’s happened over the past 10 years: people killing themselves, issues with our families, the twins’ divorces, all these things caught up to us. All these things that you shut down in favor of momentum and motion just found their way to the three of us at one time, so we opened the packages back up and just dealt with it. You can do any number of things with that, but what we chose to do is to talk about finding a way to fundamentally forgive and accept life for being fucking hard.”
Carlile wrote the song with the Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth, Dave Cobb, who co-produced By the Way, I Forgive You and Shooter Jennings. Carlile was nominated for six Grammys, and won Best Americana Album, Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for The Joke.
“You’re feeling nervous, aren’t you, boy?
With your quiet voice and impeccable style
Don’t ever let them steal your joy
And your gentle ways, to keep ’em from running wild
They can kick dirt in your face
Dress you down, and tell you that your place
Is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine
I see you tugging on your shirt
Trying to hide inside of it and hide how much it hurts
You get discouraged, don’t you, girl?
It’s your brother’s world for a while longer
You gotta dance with the devil on a river
To beat the stream
Call it living the dream, call it kicking the ladder
They come to kick dirt in your face
To call you weak and then displace you
After carrying your baby on your back across the desert
I saw your eyes behind your hair
And you’re looking tired, but you don’t look scared
Let ’em laugh while they can
Let ’em spin, let ’em scatter in the wind
I have been to the movies, I’ve seen how it ends
And the joke’s on them”
— Marie Gendron (@mariegendron) February 11, 2019