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Brandi Carlile enjoys the "challenge" of opening for Dave Matthews Band

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Opening for the Dave Matthews Band is a daunting task -- especially in a year the group has returned to the road after taking last summer off from touring.

But Brandi Carlile, who's supporting the DMB on several shows this year, says she's up to the task.

"Most people think I'm crazy, but I appreciate the challenge of having to win over an entirely different demographic of people who probably have no idea who you are," says the singer-songwriter from Washington state, who released her fourth studio album, "Bear Creek" -- named for the Woodinville, Wash., studio where it was recorded -- last month.

"The trick is, ironically, just being completely genuine, having a genuine conversation wtih the audience. That's something I learned a long time ago, busking, learning what it takes to make somebody physically stop when they're walking by and listen to you. You just translate that mindset into opening for a really huge artist."

Fortunately, Carlile says, the DMB tends to bring out fans who, while obviously crazed for the headliner are open to hearing what its support acts have to say.

"I consider the Dave audience pretty unique in all the world," Carlile, 31, explains. "They're very conversational. I like to stand in front of the stage and ask them about where they're from, how many dogs they have. They ask me stuff. The interaction you can have is pretty unique and fun."


Dave Matthews Band fans have the group back on stage this year after it took last summer off from full-scale touring. Come fall, the group will be back on disc again, too.

The DMB has slated a Sept. 11 release date for "Away From the World," its seventh studio album and first in three years. The 11-song set was produced by Steve Lillywhite, who produced the group's first three albums. A deluxe version will come with three bonus live tracks, while a super-deluxe edition will add a photo book, DVD and five bonus live tracks.

The group has been previewing some of the new album's songs, including the first single "Mercy," on its current tour.

The DMB's last album, "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2009.

The Dave Matthews Band and Brandi Carlile perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $75 pavilion, $40.50 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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