I don’t drink. This means that I – generally – have a lot of friends on Friday nights. When we were younger especially I’d get plenty of texts along the lines of “you at a gig mate? We’re in [insert pub here] come meet us after.” That meant the lads wanted a lift home. To this day I am known as Th-Uber by the boys.
What this means, in practical terms when it comes to “Sunshine City” is that never in my life have I got in at 4am after doing Tequila and woke up in the dog’s bed. That is, according to Elles Bailey on Saturday night on stage where the inspiration for the track came from. A night out in her native Bristol, and its something of an irony that a song that seems so warm and summer-filled has emerged when it was minus 2 on my way to work this morning.
But my goodness, it’s a cracker. Bluesy rock n roll, equal parts Bad Touch and Wille and the Bandits, it’s the most played song on Planet Rock right now (the slide guitar from Joe Wilkins is worth it alone).
The good news is that Elles Bailey is so good right now there’s another three songs where that came from. These showcase two things. First her ability to hop round genres (guaranteed to get bonus points here) and second, her incredible (not used with any hyperbole) voice.
“Woman Like Me” is dripping in soul and sex. And its proper funky. Watching her live for the first time the other night I was struck by how funky Bailey’s set was, actually, and this is the sort of thing that proves it. And it made me blush. These things always do.
“Walk Away” – a track she played live – is simply beautiful. Stripped down, acoustic and displaying raw emotion. The strings add a real mournful quality. To move gears like this is serious talent, and there’s Americana artists everywhere in the world who could take lessons in how stuff gets done, frankly.
The last one adds a more pop element. “Love Is Gonna Win” makes good on the promise she’d made to add a more gospel flavour to her sound. Even speaking as someone who would burst into flames at the sight of holy water, and with no desire to “speak His name” (as the last verse puts it) then you can only marvel at the way the song draws you in anyway, and is shot through with a genuine quality – as is everything else here, too.
Elles Bailey is a serious talent and she’s coming into her own it seems. Take me down to the “Sunshine City” indeed, the grass is green, or something.