Brandi Carlile offered up an epic version of the Elton John classic "Madman Across the Water" during a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show.

For the performance, Carlile is backed by her longtime collaborators, twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth, and a string trio. The cover features a guitar interpretation of the song's famous piano riff, as well as an impressive treatment of the original lyrics, which Carlile believes are about someone "who makes a spectacle of himself and realizes that he’s being laughed at ... He's not being fully appreciated for his genius, but he can kind of take it."

"I think it's really rhythmically unique," she explained to Stern about what she loves about this song in particular. "There's something really unhinged about it."

Carlile cites John as a major influence not only on her new album, In These Silent Days, but also on her career as a whole. In her recent memoir, Broken Horses, the artist recalled his impact on her growing up — including when she, at the age of 12, dressed up in a John-inspired outfit, made by her mother, to perform "Honky Cat" during a talent show.

"She made me, like, big, feathered sunglasses out of pipe cleaners and boat shoes that said ‘E’ and ‘J’ on each foot with, like, sequins and stuff," Carlile described to Stern. "That was a big moment, actually.”

As her career has evolved, John has also become a personal friend of Carlile's. She says he is "every single thing you hope he would be."

"That includes great at dirty jokes, [and he] curses every third word," she adds. "But he’s also really upstanding and moral, and he’s got a lot of opinions."

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