“Bailey has one of those satiny voices where you could listen to her sing a phone book and not be unhappy. She then layered it on top of of a sound maybe best characterized as early Muscle Shoals.”
Sandy Bailey’s sound has often been compared to a spectrum of acts, including Norah Jones, Patsy Cline, Susan Tedeschi, and Patti Smith - yet she possesses a sound all her own. Her latest recording, Daughter of Abraham, will be released summer of 2023 on Red Parlor Records. The upcoming ten-song collection, expertly produced by Bailey, showcases her signature sound, but with a bolder, more idiosyncratic attention to detail. Incorporating elements of gospel blues, soul, and classic Americana, the depth of her songwriting stems from her life and identity as a biracial woman and single mother who abandoned a Pentecostal upbringing in favor of a life of art-making and rock and roll.
The artist, Sandy Bailey, is discovered in each profound, candid tune. Her influences are on display from track to track. The first radio single “I Ain’t Your Honey” is a declarative groover with a soulfully lilting vocal, stating clearly the boundaries of a relationship. “Get The Message Through” shows Bailey’s Americana roots. Her straight-forward vocal approach in the vein of Emmylou Harris is a warm reminder of 1970s folk-rock with a modern lyrical bent.
The compelling title track is the story of an enslaved black man in 1859 walking north to freedom by starlight in the dark cover of night. “He almost forgot about the holes in his shoes when his stomach started growling,” she sings. The song is one of hope and survival, played to perfection with upright bass, subtle use of a baritone ukulele, a hauntingly reverberant piano, and electric slide guitar. “Light of the day, my inner flame/I am weary, guide my way,” Bailey reflects on her own self-doubt, and inspired by Abraham, sings her way through her troubles.
Her gospel influence comes through on “Bottles of Emptiness” with Hammond organ taking the lead, while Bailey’s production chops shine on “Like You Loved Me”. The outro lifts into the stratosphere with a Thom Yorke-style vocal and swirling rock instrumentation.
The new recording includes performances by acclaimed musicians; guitarist Ryan Hommel (Amos Lee), bassist and engineer Marc Seedorf (Dinosaur JR, Lou Barlow), and drummer Don McAulay (The Rolling Stones, Neil Young) as well as neighbors, parents, coworkers, and even Bailey’s kids. It’s an alluringly moody, genre-defying album, alternating in tone between the laid-back cool of Bonnie Raitt and the no-fucks-given fire of Joni Mitchell, tempered with moments of genuine, heartbreaking vulnerability. Daughter of Abraham is the sound of a woman living her life.