It’s not often that a female blues-singer comes around who manages to tingle your skin with positive emotions & stinging hurt, before she seduces you with her whispers, then tantalizes your heart with magical shimmery: Beth Hart (of course) whose songs pierce right through to the nub every time, and Lynne Jackaman, Sari Schorr, and Elin Larsson to name but a few.
Bristol singer-songwriter ELLES BAILEY is among the list. A vocalist whose distinctive and briary voice is huskier than a branchful of hazelnuts, yet can also seem smooth as a sea of silk. In the past we’ve described her voice as: “plum-peach, with a satin walnut finish…”
Elles will release her second album “Road I Call Home” on March 8th. Her homecoming Album Listening Party is tonight at Christ Church, Clifton. We had an early listen to the LP:
The album features co-writing contributions from high-calibre collaborators, including British hit-making legend and Ivor Novello Award winner Roger Cook, storied Memphis and Nashville giant Bobby Wood, as well as Dan Auerbach (of Akron, Ohio powerhouses The Black Keys)
“Hell or High Water” trickles into view like a rivulet at Conasauga Creek. This ever-growing ballad incorporates superb bottle-neck guitar, thumping rhythms and scorching vocals.
“Wild Wild West” has a cantering pace and is prickly at first, although it soon blooms like a cactus in a rare desert storm. She says that this song, written by Elles, alongside Billy Smiley [White Heart] and country-artist Catlin Rushing is “about the darker side of the music and entertainment industry…”
“Deeper” is more smoothly sophisticated. A soft-rock sound oriented to adults who possess a country heart. Imagine Toto providing the backing for Toni Tennille — whose whimpering and reverberating voice gets the whole Smokehouse up onto their toes and singing along… Yeah, you get the idea…
“What’s The Matter With You” was written by Elles, with fellow-Bristolian Roger Cook and Memphis Boys keyboardist Bobby Wood. With fragments of the coldest piano, Elles’ delightful voice on this purehearted song is the sweet side of warm-amber and dark, chocolate-orange .
Title track “ Road I Call Home” has a slippery organ, snapping rhythms, a tightly strummed guitar and is, basically, a slice of radio-friendly pop. Perhaps it isn’t the best vehicle for Elle’s performance… she sounds as if she’s drowned-out on this track, and she’s held herself back from delivering all her lust and acid.
This album accurately captures Elles’ raw live sound and can be breathtakingly intimate at times, and is stuffed with compositions that come packed with vital emotion.
Words: @neilmach 2019 ©