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Elles Bailey – ‘Shining in the Half Light’ Deluxe Edition Review

Elles Bailey may well have picked up two awards from the prestigious UK Americana 2023 Awards (the highly coveted Artist of the Year Award and the very first Live Act of the Year Award and have been shortlisted for 3 awards at the forthcoming UK Blues Awards 2023 but she’s not standing still, basking in acclaim: this ever-creative, hardworking, genre-topping artist is moving forwards and releasing fresh material.

The deluxe version of ‘Shining In The Half Light’ features an addition of two new originals, two covers and five live tracks. The first rendition of the album debuted at the top of her native genre charts: #1 in the Official Blues charts; #2 in the Official Americana charts; and #4 in the Official Independent Charts. In a landmark breakthrough for an independent artist, ‘Shining In The Half Light’ also appeared on the RADAR of the UK Charts, reaching #11 in the mid-week album charts, and finishing just a handful of sales away from the UK’s Top 40 at #42. 

Speaking on the album, Elle said “What a year, what a story, what an epic journey! Thank-you for joining me on it. So many of you have asked for a deluxe version of ‘Shining In The Half Light’ including some live tracks from the record’s playlist. So, I got the whole cast together to record five of the tracks live at The Pool. It has been the one and only time we have been able to get the ‘Shining In The Half Light’ crew all together in one room: a very special moment indeed, particularly in light of the experiences of the last few years. But it felt like it wasn’t enough; that we still had more of the story to tell.

“To do that, the band and I headed back to Devon in December 2022 — to Middle Farm Studios – exactly two years to date since the original recording —and there we tracked two new originals and two covers. These we recorded and mixed live to tape with no computers at all: a complete first for me and part of a beautiful learning curve”.

“I think these tracks showcase this incredible band at their finest. It was a real blessing to make these tracks all together. It wasn’t about creating a ‘perfect’ recording, but about capturing a little spark of musical magic. I can’t wait for you to hear them”.

‘Hole in my Pocket’, the first single released from the record is a blues-inspired roots rocker, suffused with Motown bass lines and marinated in soulful guitar riffs & gospel-inspired backing vocals that show just how perfectly Bailey blurs and transcends the over-tidy picket fences between blues, roots rock and Americana. The gospel inspired backing vocals and slide guitar continue in ‘Stones’ which alongside opening laid back track ‘Cheats & Liars’, ‘Sunshine City’ and ‘The Game’ was added to the Planet Rock A list playlist, with 15 weeks collectively at the top spot on the UK Airplay Charts in 2020 after their recordings. 

Bailey’s vocals are showcased delightfully in ‘Colours Start To Run’ with slices of soul and pop thrown in for good measure, the instrumentation leaving enough room for her clean yet ever so raspy vocals to shine through. Throughout this album, as much as Elle’s vocals should be praised, her band is also tight and well deserved of praise too. The theme of love showcased in the aforementioned continues into ‘Different Kind Of Love’, a relaxed ballad situated five songs in.  

‘Sunshine City’ should please country and Americana fans with its slide guitar, sustained keys backing and foot tapping rhythm where as ‘Halfway House’ will be a surefire winner for slower acoustic fans. This can be said for the new original ‘Spinning Stopped’ too, a simple but effective song with just Bailey on guitar and vocals and a small percussion backing; a hidden gem in the middle of the album. 

The first cover on the album ‘Over The Hill’, originally by a gem of a UK songwriter in John Martyn is spiced up with more of a rolling rhythm section (almost a little Tina Turner-esque) and ‘Long As I See The Light’, originally by legendary John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is given a fitting tribute with Bailey’s own spin but the same rasping brass and slow snare roll to keep it ticking along. 

The addition of the live tracks on this deluxe offering of ‘Shining In The Half Light’ add an interesting layer to the album as at times, live track offerings can sound a little raw however Bailey and her band are able to deliver wonderfully. ‘Riding Out The Storm’ is an energetic song highlighting what a unique voice Bailey has and is complimented by a cleanly written and performed guitar solo. The previously mentioned ‘Stones’ brings it down a notch but has a feel that makes you want to tap your feet and nod your head and ‘Sunshine City’ sounds even better with a live band, a treat for those who plan to see her on the upcoming tour. 

This self-confessed ‘rolling stone’ continues to do everything she can to call the road her home. 2022 saw Bailey play multiple high profile headline festival slots across the length and breadth of the UK and into Europe, taking to the high seas to play the Joe Bonasmassa – ‘Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea’ cruise, opening for Blues Legend Walter Trout and joining Don McLean on his 50th anniversary American Pie UK tour. 

Spring 2023 finally sees her able to do a full UK headline tour of ‘Shining In The Half Light’ coinciding with the deluxe release of her album, play four exclusive co-headline shows with Chantel McGregor and headlining Winters End Festival alongside Kris Barras Band and the Von Hertzon Brothers. She’s also heading out to Germany to open for roots rockers Kitty, Daisy & Lewis in April 2023. Summer will see her play slots alongside Bonnie Raitt at Black Deer Festival,  main stage at the brand new Maid of Stone fest alongside Australian hard rockers Airborne and headlining festivals into Europe.  

Elles Bailey
Credit: Wrapped Up Music

Track List: 1. Cheats And Liars  2. The Game 3. Stones  4. Colours Start To Run 5. Different Kind Of Love  6. Who’s That  7. Sunshine City  8. Halfway House  9. Riding Out The Storm  10. Shining In The Half-light  11. Spinning Stopped  12. Hole in my Pocket  13. Over The Hill   14. Long As I See The Light Record Label: Wrapped Up Music Release Date: March 17th Buy ‘Shining in the Half Light’ deluxe edition now

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Elles Bailey may well have picked up two awards from the prestigious UK Americana 2023 Awards (the highly coveted Artist of the Year Award and the very first Live Act of the Year Award and have been shortlisted for 3 awards at the forthcoming UK Blues Awards 2023 but she’s not standing still,...Elles Bailey - 'Shining in the Half Light' Deluxe Edition Review