If you’re already a Brandi Carlile fan (I don’t think there’s any musician I’ve listened to more in the last five years), there’s an excellent chance you’ll find Broken Horses charming, funny, illuminating and poignant. If you’re not a fan, Broken Horses might well make you into one, especially now, because the book feels like the antithesis of social distancing — replete with Carlile and her identical twin collaborators Tim and Phil Hanseroth touring in vans and buses (more recently with their wives and children in tow) and performing songs they’ve written together to celebratory crowds. Carlile’s warmly colloquial tone evokes listening to stories, possibly in a bar, told by a friend who leads a life far more interesting than your own. Each mostly chronological chapter concludes with a plethora of photos, handwritten captions and song lyrics by Carlile and others ... That I finished reading without a clear sense of the personalities of either Hanseroth brother could reflect Carlile’s deference to their privacy or a blurring between their identities and hers.
... carries with it the same gritty honesty and self-reflection that fans find in the singer/songwriter's music ... Brandi does in Broken Horses what fans have come to expect from her: She explores the personal in a way that is unruffled and universally relatable ... Fans who are accustomed to the lines of truth that cut through Brandi's music will find more jewels in the book. Whether she's telling of those who believed in her music early and championed her career when she was just starting out, or speaking to the active, love-as-a-verb emotion that she teaches her daughters, Broken Horses isn't just another addition to pantheon of celebrity musician memoirs. Even casual fans will find depth and exploration here that'll keep them turning the page ... Brandi also writes candidly about her journey as a lesbian person of faith and her path into marriage and motherhood. These are experiences and conversations that remain pivotal in any person's life, but especially in the life of someone in the LGBTQ+ community ... Brandi's stories come alive anew, and new fans and old will feel more connected than ever to the singer's wise and wonderful words.
... an exegesis of empathy: how it took root within [Carlile], the ways it's dictated her relationships, its role as the engine driving her songwriting. The same things that make her music so remarkable can be found in her prose: If you're a fan of Carlile, you already love this book ... Carlile is reluctant to simply recount one milestone after another, instead offering through-lines that generate connections ... Even the book's structure is sneakily sharp, with each chapter followed by lyrics to relevant songs .. Carlile writes in a voice that's earthy, frank, endearingly dorky, and open-hearted ... She's generous with her faults and generous to them.