ELLES BAILEY - Road I Call Home (Album)
After spending a year touring Europe and North America promoting her first album, ‘Wildfire’, it seems appropriate that ELLES BAILEY’s second album should be called ‘Road I Call Home’, as that’s where the majority of this latest album was conceived. Due to be released on March 8th, and once again heavily promoted by a UK tour, this is your chance to catch the ascendance of Bristol’s finest Americana vocalist in some of the country’s more intimate venues.
Partially recorded in Nashville, and featuring collaborations with the likes of Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, and veteran songwriter from the Nashville Hall of Fame, Roger Cook (another Bristol prodigy), it’s no big surprise there is a country feel to this album. But there’s still a strong backbone of blues and a touch of soul mixed in there too, as evidenced by the Ramblin’ Man announcement of an appearance on their blues stage.
This album starts with the slow burner ‘Hell or High Water’ which gradually builds up from a moody country song into a bluesy power guitar ballad. Which sets the tone for the rest of the album, as it unfolds in a similar vein to the likes of Joanne Shaw Taylor. Both are blues-rooted but have collaborated and recorded in the home of country and western, so it’s no great surprise to find the lines are blurred between country and blues, and the cross over works well for both artists in their own way. And just to emphasize this, the second track, ‘Wild Wild West’ is straight out of Nashville, with a little rocking blues thrown in.
Adding a bit of Hammond organ, and a couple of horns, ‘Deeper’ is a much more soulful track, perfect for Elles husky smoking vocals, allowing her to stretch her repertoire to show she’s not about to be tagged as a country artist. Then we’re straight into a classic blues number for ‘What’s the Matter With You?’
The first single from the album, ‘Medicine Man’ charted in the Amazon Blues Chart, and got airplay on Radio 2, and a well-deserved number 1 on iTunes Blues Chart, despite having a strong southern country sound to it, and lyrics straight out of the wild west, the sound is tempered with a slide guitar, and that Hammond organ, that still manages to keep that bluesy feel in the background.
The albums’ title track ‘Road I Call Home’ opens with a catchy drum beat and a quick slide up the keyboard, then bursts into the story of life on the road for a travelling band. Constant touring and playing festivals these days is the way of life for artists who want to establish themselves in a very competitive and cruel market. But this track is upbeat, full of hooks and the joys of living your dream.
There’s another change in style for following track ‘Foolish Hearts’, slowing the pace right down to a moody soul stripping love song, allowing Bailey to ride the range of her vocals. But we know this is a blues album when ‘Help Somebody’ opens with a harmonica sounding like a steam train whistle, and has the full support of the brass section, all the staple ingredients of a classic blues band.
‘Little Piece of Heaven’ is a cheery, feel good, Americana love song, nothing too bluesy or country about this one, just an easy, laid back piece of music. Whereas ‘Miss Me When I’m Gone’ goes back to that country blues that is prominent throughout this album. The vocals are the main thing here as always, but the band are more than able to support whatever genre they are asked to produce and work well together to make the music flow seamlessly in the background.
Final track ‘Light in the Distance’ brings a Gospel sound to the album, which fits in well with the Americana mixture already played previously. Stripped back to just the keyboard and vocals, gives Bailey a final showcase of her vocal talents.
1. Hell or High-water
2. Wild Wild West
4. What’s The Matter With You?
5. Medicine Man
6. Road I call Home
7. Foolish Hearts
8. Help Someone
9. Little Piece of Heaven
10. Miss Me When I’m Gone
11. Light In The Darknes