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Brandi Carlile Holds Nothing Back In Her New Book 'Broken Horses'

The singer/songwriter's must-read book shares life lessons and intimate moments in her own words.

brandi carlile broken horses
Penguin Random House

Sunday, March 14, was a day for the memory books for Brandi Carlile. Not only did the singer/songwriter cover John Prine's "I Remember Everything" for the 63rd Grammy Awards, The Highwomen (the country group the singer/songwriter is a part of alongside Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires) won the Best Country Song award for “Crowded Table.” The song's lyrics—a clarion call for inclusion—also happen to be reflective of themes at the heart of Brandi's soon-to-be-released memoir, Broken Horses.

I want a house with a crowded table,
And a place by the fire for everyone.
Let us take on the world while we're young and able,
And bring us back together when the day is done.

–"Crowded Table"

Broken Horses carries with it the same gritty honesty and self-reflection that fans find in the singer/songwriter's music. From the bout of meningococcal meningitis that sent her into a dreamlike coma to the family dynamics and poverty that framed her early life and informed her first songs, 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—the lyrics you write on notebooks and in social media posts, the melodies that stick in your head and return to you while you're paused at stoplights—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 Carlile performs at the Ryman Auditorium on January 16, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jason Kempin

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. Her rejection by her church at a key time in her life—and the resulting support from her community—set Brandi on a path of self-discovery and acceptance through the most powerful tool she had: music.

Brandi Carlile and Catherine Shepherd backstage during the 53rd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Robby Klein

From the honky-tonk music circuit to touring the country, Broken Horses doesn't just chronicle the musical momentum that led to hits like "The Story," "The Joke," and "The Mother" (though that's in here, too).

Broken Horses: A Memoir
Crown amazon.com

Key songs bookend each chapter, acting as guideposts from the written word to the music, and readers will find themselves pausing between chapters to listen again to a song or two in a new light. In this way, 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.

Broken Horses is available everywhere from Crown on April 6, 2021, at local bookshops and digitally.

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