Music review: Brandy Clark - ‘Your Life Is a Record’

After helping craft songs recorded by notable artists like Miranda Lambert, LeAnn Rimes, Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, Kacey Musgraves and Sheryl Crow, Brandy Clark emerges from the shadows and into the spotlight with an impressive third album.

On “Your Life Is a Record,” the talented singer-songwriter uses her new arrangements as an emotional release in dealing with the struggles of a recently dissolved long-term relationship. The result is a poignant confessional that details a turbulent period of hurt, resentment, self-examination and healing.

“Couldn’t be your happy song/But at least we had a song,” softly declares Clark on the opening number that sets a melancholy tone as she looks to the future in an attempt to salvage a little bit of good from a bitter past.

The tongue-in-cheek lyrics of “Long Walk” momentarily add a touch of levity to the set with Clark describing how she is hoping for the worst for an ex-lover and wishing she would have handled herself better as she sings, “If I was Jesus, I’d turn the other cheek/If I was Eastwood, my cool is what I’d keep.”

The 44-year-old Washington native’s failed relationship is painfully highlighted on “Who You Thought I Was.” “Now I wanna be the me I should’ve been when we were together,” confesses Clark on the track consumed with regret about the actions of the past and the desire to be a better person the next time around.

“Who Broke Whose Heart” shares the blame evenly over an agonizing separation as Clark ultimately discovers that it really doesn’t matter why it ended and that there was indeed love buried under the chaos as she tenderly announces, “All I know is I loved you/And you loved me.”

Other highlights include the desire for a fresh start on “Pawn Shop,” the passion detailed on “Love Is a Fire” and the timely “Bigger Boat” with Randy Newman.

Clark’s willingness to be open about her vulnerability makes for an album overflowing with emotional scratches and scars that eventually heal to fuel a stronger spirit.

Clark will make an area appearance with Kelsey Waldon at Pittsburgh’s Rex Theater on April 22.

Clint Rhodes is the Herald-Standard music reviewer. He can be reached at clinton43@me.com.

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