Road I Call Home – Elles Bailey (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

Every so often an album comes along that you instantly like, maybe it’s the alignment of the stars, maybe a certain piece of music slots into place and perfectly suits your mood or maybe the reason for liking it is something more basic; it’s simply a good album.

Bristol-based singer Elles Bailey certainly knows how to lead a song, to take a well-trodden path but make it sound new and exciting. The sound she and her band produce are reminiscent of the greats of American blues, country and soul, she is able to drift between these genres with ease telling stories while harnessing the wide palette of American music to do it.

There is a smoke to her voice that manages to take these influences and eras and make you feel in good hands so kick back, open a can or two and raise a drink to some rousing tunes.

Somewhere there is a classroom filled with Aerosmith, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gary Moore, Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa all taking turns in their individual ‘show and tell’ with Bailey tucked away at the back busily scribbling notes and piecing together a musical landscape that feels both familiar and new at the same time. No easy thing, but then again, this is no easy road. To sound this authentic takes time, there is no short cut to achieving this level of assuredness.

Elles Bailey plays live a lot, just looking at her tour dates reinforces this (fifteen dates in March alone shows she’s no stranger to the stage) and this familiarity of playing, gauging audience responses and chipping away at her craft comes through in the album, this is no shrinking violet afraid to let her vocals carry and lead a band.

We go through some western music with enough dirt on your boots to make you think of the wild wild west (which, incidentally is the title of the second track on the album), there is the emotionally-charged blues number ‘What’s The matter With You’ and the radio-ready title track ‘Road I Call Home’ that will stick with you long after the album has finished playing.

If you like your whiskey and your music straight up with no gimmicks or fuss, give this artist a listen, she could just be your next favourite singer.

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