You might wonder how a critically acclaimed but relatively unknown singer-songwriter recruited Adele, Pearl Jam and Dolly Parton to cover her songs for a benefit album. But the biggest get on Brandi Carlile’s “Cover Stories,” made up of new renditions of the material on her 2007 album, “The Story,” comes from outside the music world: Barack Obama.
The former president doesn’t sing on the album, from which all proceeds will benefit War Child UK, an organization dedicated to supporting children affected by conflict. But he did provide a foreword for the package (out Friday on Legacy Recordings), in which he writes that “Brandi Carlile tells stories that encourage us to see ourselves in one another” and that she “reminds us that, together, we can build for our children a more just, peaceful world.”
“The Story” has been a slow-burn tale of success. Its songs have turned up in numerous television shows and commercials, and the title track has become something of a staple on singing competition shows like “The Voice”; this year, a decade after its release, the album was certified gold. (Ms. Carlile is currently on a small tour on which she is playing the album in its entirety, an anniversary celebration she described as “more of a party environment.”)
On the phone from her home outside Seattle, Ms. Carlile, 35, said she was unsure why the record had had such staying power — “I’m as confused as you are!” — but had become aware that “people were singing it still, and it wasn’t going away, so it seemed like the biggest thing I had to throw at this.”
Her War Child efforts come after spending a long time following the refugee crisis in…