Jim James is one of 14 artists who cover Brandi Carlile’s iconic The Story album; Cover Stories comes out May 5

Brandi Carlile’s Cover Stories comes out Friday. | Courtesy of Brandi Carlile

For all the Brandi Carlile fans in Louisville — and we know there are many as evidenced by how many times she stops here to play — we’ve been waiting in high anticipation to hear the new tribute album to Carlile’s 2007 iconic release, The Story. Thanks to NPR’s First Listen, that wait is now over.

Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of The Story officially will be released on Friday, May 5, but you can stream it all the way through at the above link. Sales of the album will benefit War Child UK, a nonprofit that helps children affected by war.

Jim James | Photo by Danny Clinch

Louisville native Jim James joins the likes of Adele, Pearl Jam, Dolly Parton, The Avett Brothers, the Indigo Girls and many more to cover 13 songs from Carlile’s second album, plus the hidden song “Hiding My Heart” (by Adele). James takes on “Wasted” and applies his signature trippy sound to make it almost unrecognizable — in a good way, of course.

Highlights in this writer’s humble opinion include The Avett Brothers’ classic rendition of “Have You Ever,” Anderson East’s bluesy take on “Josephine,” Ruby Amanfu’s subtle and soulful version of “Shadow on the Wall” and Pearl Jam’s amped up “Again Today.”

Parton’s version of “The Story” plays it safe, but then again, it’s Dolly, and just hearing her voice is props. Kris Kristofferson’s somewhat creepy take on “Turpentine” mixes spoken word and song, and you can practically smell the whiskey on his breath as he delivers the line These days we go to waste like wine that’s turned to turpentine. It’s 6 a.m. and I’m all messed up.

The album features 14 songs.

When Carlile first announced the project this winter, she said was equally excited that an amazing group of talented musicians would contribute to the project, and that the album could help out children around the world.

She wrote:

“We’re giving this thing all we’ve got. Everyone is donating all proceeds to War Child UK. Charity projects like this don’t come along every day; even the major record label putting this album out is donating their proceeds to War Child UK. We are going to witness radical cavalry and compassion because we choose to.”

Carlile has played in Louisville at least half a dozen times, most recently at 2016’s Forecastle Festival. She’s currently on tour, but unfortunately, last week’s stop in Nashville was the closest she got to us. With a new album in the works, we suspect she’ll be back fairly soon.