Outlaw Music [Release date 08.03.19]
After attracting a slew of favourable reviews with her debut album, 2017′s ‘Wildfire’, the Bristol-based singer-songwriter Elles Bailey is back with a follow-up. Like its predecessor, recorded primarily in Nashville’ Road I Call Home’ is a slice of soulful, classy, bluesy Americana.
With her husky, emotive vocals and a definite ear for a good song it’s not difficult to see why Bailey has been picking up fans and rave reviews across a range of genres – from rock to folk to country to blues.
Backed by some top class musicians from the Nashville recording scene the album just oozes professionalism and quality.
‘Hell Or High Water’ is a suitably dramatic slice of country rock to open the album, while songs like ‘Little Piece Of Heaven’ and ‘Miss Me When I’m Gone’ perfectly capture the spirit of modern Americana.
Some of the tracks, like ‘Deeper’ and ‘Foolish Hearts’ with their deliciously soulful organ and bags and bags of brass give an impression of being recorded not in Nashville but some 200 miles away and a several decades ago in Memphis’s Stax studio.
But it’s that skilful yet instinctive blend of influences that has helped Bailey build a solid fan-base. ‘What’s The Matter With You’ meanwhile is a slow, smoky, heartfelt blues while the rock influences come more to the fore in the title track ‘Road I Call Home’ with its superb guitar solo.
Co-writing credits include renowned UK hit songwriter Roger Cook, these days firmly part of the Nashville music scene, along with Nashville’s own Bobby Wood who has written for Elvis Presley and Dusty Springfield among others.
Bailey explains the process as follows: “Road I Call Home is a year’s snapshot of being on the road. Eight of the 11 songs were written in two months. I’m very honest to what I write, and right now that’s what I know. I live in that constant state of tiredness, but I love it. I feel so blessed to live this life.”
An incredible voice, some great songwriting and some seriously good musicianship with ‘Road I Call Home’ Elles Bailey and her friends in Nashville have given us an impressive album. ****
Review by Darren Johnson
Get Ready to ROCK! caught up with blues/Americana singer-songwriter Elles Bailey to talk about her newly-released album, about the impact of her critically-acclaimed debut and about her current tour.
GRTR!: Your debut album was fantastically well-received. At what point did you start to feel you had something really special on your hands? While you were writing? Or recording? Or mixing? Or not until you started to see the reactions and read the positive reviews?
I guess it was when the critics and their fans got there hands on it and the reviews started to come in that I was like ‘hang on, I think folks are really liking this!’ I find it is really hard to be objective about your own music but I am really pleased that Wildfire got the reviews it did, across genres! That took me by surprise.
GRTR!: You must have felt under quite a bit of pressure when it came to putting the second album together. What was your overall philosophy when it came to writing and recording Road I Call Home?
Just be honest – I wanted to write an album that was honest, bare to the bones, not sugar-coating anything!
I guess there was a bit of pressure when it came to putting this album together but it was such a blur of a year I am not quite sure how it all happened! I’m currently sat in my managers office and looking at the vinyl…. And that’s weird, actually having it physically in my hand and thinking – ‘how the hell did this happen?
GRTR!: What has the experience of co-writing with some of these iconic song-writers been like, compared to writing songs on your own?
I love to collaborate when I write, its great being in a room with someone sparking off ideas and working with folks like Roger Cook, Bobby Wood and Dan Auerbach is kinda mind blowing. Every now and then I have to pinch myself just in case I am dreaming!!
GRTR!: What’s been your most memorable live gig so far and how much are you looking forward to doing Ramblin’ Man in July?
The album launch at The Lexington in London was totally off the chain. The album had been out a couple of days and had loads of people singing the words back to me! I felt like crying it was so emotional! I’ll never forget that gig!
Ramblin’ Man….. I can’t wait and am so excited to finally see Beth Hart live!
GRTR!: There’s a lot of different influences in your music – from blues to country to rock to soul. Name some of your favourite artists.
Gosh I have so many but right now I am listening to Mavis Staples, Christ Stapleton, The Band, Larkin Poe, Hozier ( I love his new record) and Ida Mae to name a few.
Interview by Darren Johnson
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 1 August 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week and an interview with “metal queen” Lee Aaron.
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