New producer and rural Devon work wonders on Bailey’s latest
Album number three for Bristol based singer Elles Bailey solidifies her position as one of the most powerful and talented female blues artists around with this magnificent album. A potentially grave childhood illness, when she contracted viral and bacterial pneumonia, has inadvertently given her a stunningly powerful voice and it’s put to great use on these songs. Plans were originally made for the album to be recorded in Nashville, but Covid put a scupper on this and she decided instead to record at Middle Farm studios in rural Devon and this appears to have been an inspired decision. Production duties were handed to rock producer Dan Weller – best known for his long relationship with Enter Shikari.
Determined for the lockdown limitations not to affect her music – Bailey ensured the album has a realistic and positive feel. She worked with a range of co-writers – from her regular partners Ashton Tucker, Will Edmunds and guitarist Joe Wilkins. She also collaborated with Matt Owens (co-founder of Noah and the Whale) and guitar maestro Martin Harley.
And what a collection of really strong songs there are. The pounding beats of opener ‘Cheats and Liars’ majestically start proceedings off and that’s followed by ‘The Game’ with it’s truly catchy chorus and a powerful personal lyrical message. There’s a lovely gospel, blues shuffle feel to ‘Colours Start To Run’, with a glorious guitar solo, which seamlessly segues into the laid back ‘A Different Kind of Love’, a Harley co-write. Recent single, the powerful, sing-along cracker ‘Sunshine City’ is a rousing and celebratory tune – co-written by Owens. Another highlight is the laid back ‘Halfway House’, with some more sublime guitar work.
Special mention must go to Izo Fitzroy, who brought in Andrusilla Mosely and Jade Elliot, bringing some gorgeous gospel-inspired backing vocals. It’s also so satisfying to have an album that’s not afraid to allow the songs to actually finish and not fade – so right for the feel of these tunes.
This is such a great album – it’s been made with passion and feeling and shows what a monumentally talented musician Bailey is and how pitch perfect all her fellow musicians and technicians are. And the song-writing is brilliant as well. What more could you want?