Ain’t Nothing But – Elles Bailey (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

Justice. Our whole way of life is built upon justice, where the small man can stand equally against the rich and expect a fair hearing, a fair trial and in return, will receive true, unbiased justice. Well in the music industry justice is whittled down to a few questions; will this be popular and will it make me money. Very little is decided on old fashioned qualities like talent, it’s how many followers you have on Dik-Dok or Instafake, these are the markers of whether someone is given a fair shot at the big time. But, thankfully, among the music lovers and appreciators, there is still something of an underground music scene where the good stuff rises to the top and is supported by a small, but dedicated, army of people that still believe that music should be about musicianship and song writing. Elles Bailey sits in this category.

To the well informed, she is the smoky-voiced female singer who bridges Americana and blues and, if you get the chance to see her live, you come away without doubt that you’ve seen one of the best singers outside of America who deserves to grace the biggest of stages.

In old money; she’s the real deal.

During the summer, when the world of music was forced to close piano lids and guitar cases, Elles did a series of three livestream shows, her new release ‘Ain’t Nothing But’ is made up of two of these streams and it showcases her knack of building an atmosphere with little in the way of backup (musicians Joe Wilkins, Phil King and Joe James appear on different tracks) but still producing a memorable ‘product’.

It feels a little like a time capsule in the way that you are drawn back to the summer of the ‘Year of the Covid’ when music fans were clamouring for live music and we were looking at the world through the YouTube and spotify windows. 

An impressive selection of covers from artists such as Elton John, Paul Simon, Tom Waits and Buffalo Springfield (with a superb double bass solo by Joe James) make up the album and it’s a nice diversion from her own songs – check out her 2019 album ‘Road I Call Home’ for further proof of what this powerhouse can do – and how the band’s approach to each song keeps the well-known songs fresh and never feeling like a mundane, run-of-the-mill, covers album. 

The album is available right now, so give her a search and maybe we can, in our own way, change the course of musical justice.

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