Before returning to the spotlight last month to play her first full-capacity show in front of a live audience since the pandemic began, Brandi Carlile needed to prepare herself. So she drove her RV from her home in rural Washington State to the KettleHouse Amphitheater in Bonner, Montana. Brandi Carlile album

“I got to the venue the night before, because I wanted some alone time with the stage,” she says. “I slept there and woke up there, and me and the kids went out and sat in the seats and then I watched them roll down the hill. It was this kind of soft re-entry for me, so I could get my feet back under me—it wasn’t like catapulting back into New York City or something.”

A few weeks later, though, that’s exactly where Carlile found herself, having made it to the big city for a performance at Forest Hills Stadium (“the first time I’ve…

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