Topic: Elles Bailey
Hmm, I was just going to slip an album review into the What’s Everyone Listening To? thread, but then it dawned - Elles is in the British Blues Challenge finals, so how come this Bristol lass hasn’t got her own thread - until now? And even if she weren’t; this is one mightily impressive debut album that deserves shouting about, so get your piggy-banks raided for Sept 1st when it gets it’s store release.
The Nashville recorded album kicks off with the title track, Wildfire, heralded by train whistle slide which sets up a steady, rolling rhythm for that trademark smoky soul voice of Elles. Same Flame is more of the same except is built over a spitting riff. What If, a piano led ballad calms things down a little, slight Country flavour and Barrel Of Your Gun picks the guitar back up, but with some swing in the mix. Appropriately titled Perfect Storm follows, building Gospel style and allowing Elles to slip the safety catch off that impressive voice of hers. Building from a rootsy, Resonator riff, Let Me Hear You Scream is another builder that gets under the skin. Slowing down again, Shake It Off is a beautiful Soul/Gospel ballad that segues into the rockin’ Shackles Of Love that’ll fill a few dance floors. Back to ballads, this time more a “power ballad” is Believed In You. The Blues credentials are presented in Howlin’ Wolf, a salute to past Blues legends while Girl Who Owned The Blues comes straight from the heart. Closing the album as a bonus track is Time’s A Healer, tender & expressive.
Recorded in Nashville, obviously there’s a lot of session guys playing on here, Quality session guys; including Grammy Award winner and two-time CMA ‘Musician of the Year’ Brent Mason on guitar, three-time ‘Musician Hall Of Famer’ Bobby Wood on piano, joined by Chris Leuzinger (Garth Brooks) on guitar, Mike Brignardello (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Amy Grant) on bass, Wes Little (Stevie Wonder, Melissa Etheridge) on drums, and even legendary Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter Roger Cook came on board to help add some extra sparkle. Blended together back in the UK with the likes of Jonny Henderson (Robyn Ford, Matt Schofield) on Hammond organ and Joe Wilkins on blistering guitar, the result is a unique trans-Atlantic coming together of styles. Not sure how this pans out in terms of Elles’ road band, but listening to the album, as a whole, at no time does she sound intimidated or over-awed by the band; this is 12 perfectly formed, high quality tracks any two or three of which would put this down as a good album, but all twelve means it’s damn near perfect.