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Summary

Number-one New York Times best seller

The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, producer, and six-time Grammy winner opens up about a life shaped by music in this candid, heartfelt, and intimate story.

“One of the great memoirs of our time...a gift from Brandi’s soul.” (Glennon Doyle)

“Brandi’s story is about perseverance, humor, forgiveness, and manifestation. I absolutely loved it.” (Elton John)

Broken Horses led me right into Brandi’s heart, and my own.” (Brené Brown)

Brandi Carlile was born into a musically gifted, impoverished family on the outskirts of Seattle and grew up in a constant state of change, moving from house to house, trailer to trailer, 14 times in as many years. Though imperfect in every way, her dysfunctional childhood was as beautiful as it was strange, and as nurturing as it was difficult. At the age of five, Brandi contracted bacterial meningitis, which almost took her life, leaving an indelible mark on her formative years and altering her journey into young adulthood.

As an openly gay teenager, Brandi grappled with the tension between her sexuality and her faith when her pastor publicly refused to baptize her on the day of the ceremony. Shockingly, her small town rallied around Brandi in support and set her on a path to salvation where the rest of the misfits and rejects find it: through twisted, joyful, weird, and wonderful music.

In Broken Horses, Brandi Carlile takes listeners through the events of her life that shaped her very raw art - from her start at a local singing competition where she performed Elton John’s “Honky Cat” in a bedazzled white polyester suit, to her first break opening for Dave Matthews Band, to many sleepless tours over 15 years and six studio albums, all while raising two children with her wife, Catherine Shepherd. This hard-won success led her to collaborations with personal heroes like Elton John, Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Pearl Jam, Tanya Tucker, and Joni Mitchell, as well as her peers in the supergroup The Highwomen, and ultimately to the Grammy stage, where she converted millions of viewers into instant fans.

Evocative and piercingly honest, Broken Horses is at once an examination of faith through the eyes of a person rejected by the church’s basic tenets and a meditation on the moments and lyrics that have shaped the life of a creative mind, a brilliant artist, and a genuine empath on a mission to give back.

Carlile recorded new stripped-down, solo renditions of more than 30 of the songs featured in the book, including her own and songs from artists who’ve inspired her, from Dolly Parton to Elton John, Leonard Cohen and more, available exclusively on the audiobook:

“I Don’t Hurt Anymore” by Hank Snow
“Coat of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton
“Ride on Out” by Brandi Carlile
“Honky Cat” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
“Philadelphia” by Neil Young
“Happy” by Brandi Carlile
“That Year” by Brandi Carlile
“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
“Eye of the Needle” by Brandi Carlile
“Turpentine” by Brandi Carlile
“Wasted” by Brandi Carlile
“The Story” by Brandi Carlile
“Closer to You” by Brandi Carlile
“Caroline” by Brandi Carlile
“Josephine” by Brandi Carlile
“Sugartooth” by Brandi Carlile
“Looking Out” by Brandi Carlile
“Beginning to Feel the Years” by Brandi Carlile
“Love Songs” by Brandi Carlile
“I Will” by Brandi Carlile
“I Belong to You” by Brandi Carlile

©2021 Random House Audio (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“A vulnerable document.... The resilience of her sense of self, through poverty and fame, is transcendent. One of her great strengths as an artist is a willingness to stare herself straight in the face and not flinch.” (Amanda Hess, The New York Times)

“[Carlile is] perceptive, vulnerable, humble, funny and above all else, a good storyteller. She’d already proven her storytelling chops as a lyricist and she proves them once again in these pages. She knows how to use a few words to make a big impact.... Readers walk away feeling like they know the real Carlile.” (Associated Press)

“Intimate...Carlile's story is too big to fit in a song..... The memoir covers it all with conversational ease.... This pulls the veil back in a way [Carlile] hadn’t done before.” (Vulture

What listeners say about Broken Horses

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Beautiful memoir of stories and song

So disappointed when I got to the end of this. The only audio book that has captured my full attention and left me wanting more. Brandi knows how to tell a great story, and pull lessons from everything around her. Passionate, honest, thought provoking. Not to mention 31 special songs included too. I'll be listening to this on repeat.

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Perfect

As always, Brandi never fails to impress me and has left me wanting more, as she does with her music.

As a lifelong Brandi fan I thought I knew a lot about her but I learned so much I didn’t know and so much that confirmed Brandi Carlile is truly one of the worlds magical humans.

Don’t delay, listen today!

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fabulous

loved every minute of this book 👌🏻
the music was a wonderful added bonus just brilliant

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Perfect , easy listen

This book is perfectly narrated by Brandi and really calming to listen to.

I found it engaging and thought provoking.

Aswell as the story behind many of my favourite songs, I found listening to her cover other songs deeply beautiful.

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Brandi found a way to hug us all...

The moment Brandi announced this book I shelved it on my 'to read', I might have become slightly religious because my prayer over the last few months has been to not die before I read and listened to this book and it was worth all the wait. Brandi's music has saved my life in endless ways for 10 years now and reading this book shocked me into acknowledging her humanness in a way I never had before. Oh and she is so human and vulnerable and struggles too and cries and celebrates, had complicated relationships, fell in and out of love and somehow ended up right where she needed to be.
This book has been the sign I needed that it's all going to be okay, to keep holding on even when it seems like I'll never find the kind of love I yearn for. If Glennon's Untamed was my gay awakening, Broken Horses is heaven shouting 'Just go for it you crazy lesbian'.
Read the book, then listen to the audiobook, it's an experience!

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  • NC
  • 29-04-21

I don’t want it to end !

I’ve got two hours left of this book and I am already anticipating the sadness of it ending! What a beautiful piece of art, the way Brandi weaves the stories and songs together is such a special listening experience. I highly recommend it for the story, songs and heart 🤍🏳️‍🌈

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  • 01-12-21

Wonderful

The story, so far, of an interesting and wonderfully talented singer songwriter. Frank and honest this is an excellent biography made all the better by the addition of the solo, acoustic numbers at the end of many of the chapters.

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LOVED IT

A wonderful insight into Carlile's life with a nice surprise at the end! Brandi just keeps getting better and better!

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What a gift ♡

I loved the story integrated with song, so very meaningful. Hers is a story of community indeed.

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The power of vulnerability

Her music is part of my everyday life.
Her words, her strength, her vulnerability, and her with are the best.
Listen to her, take notes, laugh and cry with her.
You won't regret it.

Joke's on them. For real.

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  • M. Lynn
  • 22-04-21

I have almost 2000 audible books and ...

... this is my 10th review. This book is engaging from stem to stern, from top to bottom. Brandi shares her inner self with the world in a way few have ever done, warts and all. She lays plain her hurdles and joys. She provides support to all the “misfits” and those who society and the church often marginalize. Her tenacity and drive are amazing, her accomplishments many, her learning overwhelming, and her gift to us amazing.

In addition to the book, you’ll be serenaded acoustically. It’s a concert just for you. You’ll be grateful for it ... and you’ll listen to it again soon. For her words, her heart, her honesty and the wish that she lived next door.

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  • Jennifer King
  • 22-04-21

Brandi deserves 10 stars

I read this book in three days and knew I needed to hear her tell it. Her music and voice are beyond comprehension as is her crazy sense of humor. If you love Brandi you’ll adore this book. If you don’t love her yet, you will.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-04-21

A lyrical life story AND an extended acoustic album!

My gift-giving decisions are made for the year to come. Everyone can relate to some part of this story. Brandi reads as if she is sitting in your kitchen sharing from days events or one of her deepest secrets. The 30-song acoustic collection .....I would have paid additional for that. Grammy #7 is in sight for recorded book! Entertainer of the year? I'll vote for that!

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  • Alena Amato Ruggerio
  • 21-04-21

Magnificent

I wept the whole way through this memoir. I wept for the honesty, the mystery, the triumph, the rough times, the exquisite beauty of the music. This book will take it's rightful place among my very favorites.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Kristen H
  • 20-04-21

Comfort, love, heartbreaking, and inspiring

I’ve been waiting for this to come out and immediately started it as soon as it arrived this morning! I’ve always been a Brandi Carlile fan and this just puts things to a new level. Her voice is captivating and her story is inspiring. Brandi’s perspective on her life and how she understands people and events of her life and sees the best in people just makes me want to reevaluate how I perceive those around me as well. Brandi truly loves people. She is a gift to all of us. She also leaves us a wonderful surprise with her performances at the end of her chapters. If you have the hardcopy you need to purchase this as well. 🌈💕

8 people found this helpful

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  • LaDonna Joy
  • 22-04-21

Extraordinary!!!

This a phenomenally wonderful book! It is so real! I am so happy that Brandi’s music was included.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Melissa P.
  • 21-04-21

Amazing listen

Brandi is amazing and it was great to listen to her story with her own voice. The music was such an added bonus!

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  • Soledad
  • 21-04-21

Great book , highly recommended

A touching narration, the kind of book that you don't want to finish. The music it's something that puts more magic, in an already emotional narration.

6 people found this helpful

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  • JBNC11
  • 25-04-21

Loved everything about this book

Brandi Carlile is a huge name-dropper by the end of her book, but you don't care because after listening to her tell us about her life you feel like you were right there with her every step of the way. I cried when Elton John was in the audience holding hands with Joni Mitchell at Brandi's Blue concert, and also when Janelle Monae started the standing ovation at the Grammies. Brandi's story is amazing, inspiring, she's so strong and talented. And getting to hear her sing interspersed with her story is a very entertaining bonus. Loved it!

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  • Marcella A. Caldwell
  • 24-04-21

Just WOW!!

The most amazing thing I’ve ever heard! Her prose are magical and the music, heavenly. Thank you for sharing your beauty! 🌈❤️🌈

5 people found this helpful