Listen: Ten Essential Brandy Clark Moments

The Grammy and CMA-winning, Tony-nominated singer-songwriter heads to the Capitol Theatre on April 20th for an intimate performance full of heart, hard truths and even a few laughs here and there.

Washington state native Brandy Clark is at the top of her game, all thanks to her commitment to remain true to herself in her craft and in life. One of the most esteemed songwriters and performers of her generation, she remains largely untouchable when it comes to delivering conversational, poignant, and powerful songs that will stand the test of time.

Watching the evolution of Clark’s artistry is like watching a rare flower slowly bloom. Though remarkable at every stage of development, each new milestone reveals a layer of complexity and beauty that seems to unintentionally overshadow the ones that came before it. Nevertheless, to get a full picture of Clark as a visionary, flowers must be given at each stop along the way. Here are a just a few of the standout moments over the course of her career that more than solidify her place as an Americana and country iconoclast in the making.

“Stripes” – 12 Stories

Nothing grabbed audiences’ attention quite like this fan-favorite single when it debuted back in 2013. One of the Washington native’s greatest traits as a writer is her biting wit, which she possesses in spades… Clark knows how to shove the proverbial knife into her more unsavory subjects and then when we least expect it, she gives the handle a little twist. And let’s be honest for a moment… is orange anyone’s color?

“Since You’ve Gone to Heaven” – Big Day in a Small Town

The final track from the singer’s sophomore album is one of those rare songs that only comes along once in a blue moon. Painting a simple, yet powerful portrait of a grieving daughter, it describes down to the details the aftermath of one of the most significant losses we experience in life: the death of a father. A deeply personal co-write with Clark’s main collaborator Shane McAnally, the song carries so much truth, authenticity, and emotion that it’s impossible not to relive your own grief…but in the most beautiful, healing way.

“Who You Thought I Was” – Your Life is a Record

Nothing like has the power to change and define us quite like love, as Clark demonstrates in this sincere mid-tempo track from her third studio album, Your Life Is A Record. Putting a bit of a different spin on the classic trope of the “one that got away,” the song finds the narrator in a familiar moment of self-awareness, realizing that great love requires honesty, transparency, and real work. Sometimes that work is the work we must do within ourselves, whether or not the love we lost can ever be returned.

 “Daughter” – Big Day in a Small Town

The plucky twang and pop of this sleeper gem from her sophomore album starts off cheerily and harmlessly enough with just the right amount of sass. But in true Clark fashion, one gets the sense that the punchline is just around the corner, and she more than delivers with a brilliant albeit brutally sarcastic chorus and hook that really sticks it to a man that seemingly had it coming to him. “Daughter” will leave you with a cackle or maybe even a howl as you stroll through your own “ex” files. Karma can indeed be a big ol’… well, you know…

“She Smoked in the House” – Brandy Clark

A stunning snapshot of a lost moment in time, “She Smoked in the House” further cements Clark’s status as a formidable contributor to the country music canon. The visceral imagery of this ode to her late grandmother moves like a tour of Clark’s childhood home and draws to mind a portrait of the family matriarch so specific you’ll swear you are sitting right there at the kitchen table with them both. The timeless melody and vocals flow with the ease of those smoke rings rising to the ceiling, making it an essential Clark tune. Nostalgia may be the theme of the song, but the message is deeper: days, months, even years can go by, but when it comes to the ones we love, we’ll forever remember everything like it was just yesterday.

“Buried” – Brandy Clark

No other song in 2023 captured the destructive weight of heartbreak like this Grammy-nominated ballad from Clark and her best friend and frequent co-writer Jessie Jo Dillon. Escapism, bargaining, and feelings of bewilderment all rise to the surface in the song’s masterful lyrics, whose pointed imagery captures the abject grief and despair of losing a love you know you’ll never get back. Clark’s breathy, haunting vocal cinches the deal, a perfect interpretation which makes the defeat in the final lines even more brutal. 

“Girl Next Door” – 12 Stories

It could be a transcription of an argument between a frustrated wife and husband… or it could be an accidental feminist anthem. Either way, “Girl Next Door” finally tells the submissive, antiquated archetype of the “model” June Cleaver housewife to go to Hell and take its jello mold with it. Never one to claim perfectionism as a strong suit, Clark’s leading ladies not only take full ownership of their complex and flawed humanness, they take it for a spin to the Quick Mart to buy a carton of Marlboro Ultra Lights (100s, please.) And if anyone has a problem with that, well, you heard her. The girl next door makes a great ambrosia salad.

“Dear Insecurity” ft. Brandi Carlile – Brandy Clark

In 2024, Clark took home her first Grammy win for this powerful song featuring Brandi Carlile. In what may possibly be her most important and vulnerable lyric to date, Clark goes head-to-head with the unrealistic expectations plaguing so many of us in this inescapable world of social media and the entertainment-led culture of comparison. In the equally-powerful music video, Clark walks us through a handful of vignettes that highlight familiar insecurities we collectively share about our looks, our bodies, our identities, and passions through the eyes of everyday people, who likely represent folks we know and love if not ourselves. In the end, she musters the courage to finally address her own and win, driving home the truth behind the lies of our inner demons: that there is no greater love than the love we gives ourselves and we deserve it all.

“Late To the Party” performed by Kacey Musgraves

This mellow groove from Grammy-winner Kacey Musgraves’ album Pageant Material showcases Clark’s versatility as writer and her ability to let inspiration flow into songs that make an impact whether she records them or gifts them to others. The arrangement and production is 100% Musgraves, but the conversational and tender lyrics bring to life the blossoming connection found between two people with an innocence and magic like only Clark can do.

“Independently Owned” from Shucked

One of the biggest surprises from the 2023 Broadway season was the smash success of this little country musical that could from Clark and McAnally, with the book from Tony-award winning playwright Robert Horn. One-part  songwriting masterclass and the other-part a subtle nod to the beloved television variety show Hee Haw, Shucked proved that the great storytelling traditions of country music and its subjects were made for so much more than the airwaves…they could make it on Broadway, too. Shucked racked up nine Tony nominations not long after its Broadway debut, including nods for “Best Musical” and earned both Clark and McAnally a Drama Desk Award for “Outstanding Music.” Macon native Grey Henson starred as “Storyteller #2” alongside Alex Newell, whose impeccable performance of this very song as “Lulu” brought the house down every single night of the show’s run and earned the star a Tony for “Best Featured Actor in a Musical.” Shucked‘s success soldiers on in a national tour this year and is in talks to debut on the West End and in Australia.

Tickets for Clark’s show at the Capitol Theatre on April 20th are available now and can be purchased HERE.