If you go

Who: Brandi Carlile

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Mishawaka Amphitheatre, 13714 Poudre County Highway, Bellvue

Cost: $26-$28.50

Etc. Carlile's show at Chautauqua Auditorium tonight is sold out.

mishawakaconcerts.com

Brandi Carlile is a fan of Sir Elton John, but she never though the famed musician would make a guest appearance on her new CD, Give Up the Ghost.

Carlile's new record drops Oct. 6, and it features special performances by John, Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls and Benmont Tench from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Colorado fans will get to hear Carlile's new tunes at tonight's sold-out Chautauqua Auditorium show. The performer's also slated to play at Mishawaka Amphitheatre near Fort Collins on Saturday.

"It's been two years since I put out my last record, The Story," Carlile said. "I've been touring really hard and writing and making demos on the road. I worked on Give Up the Ghost for over a year, because I really wanted to get it right."

The singer-songwriter has been performing her brand of pop and folk-rock music for several years. Carlile began her career in Washington state, but it wasn't long before national music reps discovered her heartfelt lyrics and songs.

Columbia Records was very impressed with Carlile, and the label signed the musician to a deal based on her home recordings.

Carlile's self-titled CD came out in 2005, and The Story was released in 2007.

The Story was produced by T-Bone Burnett, and the record launched Carlile's music onto TV's "Grey's Anatomy," "Private Practice" and a GM commercial that ran during the Beijing Olympics.

"My new record is really one of extremes," Carlile said. "There are some songs that are really stripped down and bare. Other songs have big harmonies, lots of layering and I played a lot of instruments on them."

The singer says the CD's polar sides capture the essence of Give Up the Ghost.

"Giving Up the Ghost is not just about dying," Carlile said. "It's about stepping outside yourself. It's sort of leaving yourself behind.

"I had been living on the tour bus, so I needed to step back and write these songs from a broader place."

Carlile based the song "Looking Out" on a love letter exchange, and the tune "Caroline" was inspired by her niece.

John's a big fan of Carlile's and he agreed to add his vocal talents to "Caroline."

Brandi Carlile plays Chautauqua Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 11.
Brandi Carlile plays Chautauqua Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 11.

"I had grown up listening to Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection," Carlile said. "It worked out that he was able to sing on my record, so I flew out to Las Vegas to record the track. Elton's so inspired by new music and discovering new artists.

"I was nervous to record with him. I just took a few deep breadths and allowed myself to be there. Elton John was even more astounding then I expected and he gave 'Caroline' its depth. He also schooled me in music and sent me over a 100 records."

Carlile is hitting the road this fall to promote her new CD.

The performer promises to play tunes off Give Up the Ghost, but she's also got a few more concert tricks up her sleeve.

Carlile initiated a request page on her MySpace site and the musician will take online requests for her Colorado shows.

Yes, that includes Carlile's emotive rendition of Radiohead's "Creep."

"We're going to look at all the requests and see what we can fit into the set list," Carlile said. "What we play depends on the energy in the room."

Carlile's going to be busy promoting Give Up the Ghost, but the performer's also setting aside time to work with her nonprofit group The Looking Out Foundation.

"I'm really working to expand my foundation." Carlile said. "We really work on a community basis and we do everything from helping people pay for funerals to environmental projects.

"The Looking Out Foundation is a helping hand to any cause we believe in."

A portion of the proceeds from Carlile's Mishawaka show will aid The Looking Out Foundation.