Album Review: Brandy Clark, Live From Los Angeles

Brandy Clark
Live From Los Angeles

Brandy Clark’s dual talents as a singer and a songwriter get an intimate showcase on Live From Los Angeles, a Record Store Day exclusive that has now been made widely available.

Recorded in front of a supportive and enthusiastic audience, Live From Los Angeles showcases some of the best tracks from Clark’s first two albums, both of which received Grammy nominations for Best Country Album. That intimate ballads like “Hold My Hand” and “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven” shine in this setting is no surprise, as the acoustic arrangements aren’t very different from the original recordings.

But the tracks with heavier production the first time out, like “Girl Next Door” and “Stripes,” sound even better with just Clark, her guitar, and limited accompaniment. By stripping the songs down to their core, the sheer craftsmanship of her songwriting is made clear.  It’s that innate sense of how to build a song, coupled with her empathetic observations of human nature, that make her such an essential voice right now in country music.

Witness the one new track here, the powerful “When I Get to Drinkin’,” which paints the picture of a lonely woman who can’t stop after one drink because “I get to lonely, when I get to thinkin’, so I tend to get drunk, when I get to drinkin’.” It’s so classically structured and so simple in its truth that it’s hard to believe that nobody ever said it quite that way before.

The only shortcoming of the set is its length, especially given the charming anecdotes that accompany most of the songs. For those who winced at the Marcia Brady reference in “Girl Next Door,” you get to hear how the real Marcia Brady reacted to her appearance. Little details like that leave you hungry for more. But as a showcase of Clark as an artist, Live From Los Angeles gets the job done.

Recommended Tracks: “When I Get to Drinkin’,” “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven,” “Girl Next Door”



1 Comment

  1. “[A] Record Store Day exclusive that has now been made widely available”

    Well, that’s sweet! :) I’ll have to check out “When I Get to Drinkin'”…

    Too bad “You’re Drunk” isn’t on there — I know it’s available as a downloadable stand-alone single, but I hope it ends up on a proper album sometime.

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