Elles Bailey Scorching Debut Album Wildfire
Wildfire, perfectly captures in a word the burning power of Elles Bailey’s vocals and stage presence as she sings blues that have captured in its blue flame, country, roots and soul. The voice is smoky with textures and tones that pulls out lyrics and coats them in Elles special brand of Bristol fanned Wildfire.
Often the word unique is used when talking about an artist especially on a debut album. In the case of Elles Bailey it is most definitely true. Her blues fuelled sound is lived-in, and is the fortuitous result of a childhood illness. Having recovered from both viral and bacterial pneumonia; her voice at the age of three had changed, leading to her ENT specialist prophetically observing, “If she ever wants to sing, she’ll be a natural blues vocalist!”
Wildfire started out as a demo that she had arranged to cut in Nashville whilst on a family road trip as Elles explained, “You know, ‘when in Rome’ and all that? But what was meant to be just one solitary track took on a life of its own. Before I knew it, boom, we had a whole album!”
Elles has surrounded herself with musicians chosen so that your ears mine through rich veins of blues tones and textures. Using musicians from both sides of the Atlantic, from USA guitarist Brent Mason and Chris Leuzinger, pianist Bobby Wood; and the rhythm combo of bassist Mike Brignardello on bass and Wes Little on drums. We always love some more glitz so joining the Wildfire party legendary Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter Roger Cook came on board. Once back in the UK adding their depths of musical talents and blending the music into a continuous perfectly woven tapestry are Jonny Henderson on Hammond organ and Joe Wilkins on blistering guitar. Without the skills, oversight and direction from producer Brad Nowell this could have been a fire burning out of control instead we have music that is balanced and sumptuous.
Opening with a howl of guitar conjuring up wilderness, Wild West the scene is set with the title track as blues meets country coming back down the road. What really captures your musical ear is the voice; Elles has an understanding of the lyric taking it slowly, giving the words space and building the tension. The music and lyrics paint a visual picture in your minds-eye creating cinematic music. The winning combination of Bobby’s piano and Jonny’s Hammond soothes the soul as her vocals drop with smoothness of whipped rich cream sharpened with a jolt of citric. The song is wistful and you empathise with the pain she is feeling as the drums beat out the road she has to travel as the perennial question What If I is asked again and again through the track. Leaving you wondering about your past asking your own What If I question.
Half way through the album and the delta slide guitar blues has an outing with Let Me Hear You Scream, again the shaping of the vocals gets the story told and we just want to hear her vocals growl with intent when she sings the title. The tempo rises as if the wind is fanning the fire with Shackles of Love her soulful modulation and backing vocals curl around the instrumentation that she has under total control.
Again, the tones are full of interest country with added values as we check in to Barrel Of Your Gun, starting smooth the vocals harden and the mesmeric qualities of music that is rooted in the blues and flowers free using the qualities of lyrics vocals and musicians she has surrounded herself with. With a tribute to the blues man on Howlin’ Wolf we hear her howl and celebrate the blues in her own way that will become a trademark as her career further establishes itself. The music slows, her vocals sung softly as we have a true blues number with Girl Who Owned The Blues; Elles Bailey already owns her style of blues in her hands, Wildfire is going to win her more. Closing the album out with Time’s A Healer; leaving us with a quiet gentle number reflective and the voice shimmering like a reflection in a pool of silver water. Another picture painted and we want to listen to the album all over again.
The only slight dampening of the flames in the music is that the tempo across the track is fairly similar, perhaps rather than blending the styles as she has in the majority of tracks. Some celebration of soul country and blues so listeners can see the variation and the power of the blending. This minor irritant did nothing to stop me enjoying the dozen tracks. Elles Bailey, has created a debut album that is sassy blues, modern using the rich treasure chest of roots, soul and country to create an album that burns hot and is fresh whilst being hot. This is music that crosses genres because it is excellent. The future of blues in UK is hot and strong with the fiery breath of Elles Bailey singing out to entertain and keep the blues alive. Wildfire, Elles Bailey What a Stunning Voice! Elles Bailey Scorching Debut Album Wildfire is hot with husky vocals blending roots sounds from Blues, country & soul set to be Voice of The Blues.
Elles Bailey – Wildfire – Release date 1st September
Pre-order via Elles Pledge Campaign HERE
NINEdoodle paws out of TEN ….
- Same Flame
- What If I
- Barrel Of Your Gun
- Perfect Storm
- Let Me Hear You Scream
- Shake It Off
- Shackles Of Love
- Believed In You
- Howlin’ Wolf
- Girl Who Owned The Blues
- Time’s A Healer