Victoria Bailey has got it figured out; all one needs in life is simply Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline.
Grounding her timeless country music palette is her crystalline voice; an inviting warm tone with the occasional flutter that transports you back in time to a classic honky tonk where they’re playing the aforementioned Cline, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton on rotation — all of whom she has carried from the dive bar to the main stage. Bailey brings that same spirit to the 21st century through relatably raw, non-sugarcoated songwriting that may seem unexpected from most contemporary female musicians in the country realm. She shines a relevant light on some of the shadier corners of the genre not typically addressed, such as the hypocrisy that can be found in the outlaw country mindset, all while evoking a fiery, no-holds-barred lyrical approach in the vein of Margo Price.
Produced by Jeremy Long, Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline (out early fall 2020 via Rock Ridge Music) is a whiskey-smooth concoction of crisp guitars, silky fiddle, and radiant pedal steel that expertly glides beneath Bailey’s magnetic, California sun-kissed soprano. Bailey’s full-length label debut — a nine-song collection featuring eight originals and one cover — paints stunning vignettes spanning from adrenaline-rushing love at first sight and down-and-out heartache, to treasuring country music’s indelible roots, and the wavering journey of resilience when chasing one’s dreams.
It’s no surprise that the places where she fell in love with live country music serve as the backdrop for the album’s first single. On the melancholy anthem “Honky Tonk Woman,” Bailey yearns to become the ideal country crooner who has an evergreen catalog of jukebox standards that can provide the soundtrack for life’s memorable moments, like a first dance. “Honky Tonk Woman” was the first song written for the album, serving as the integral centerpiece by leading Bailey in a musical direction of classic country soundscapes and representing an important part of her story. “Everything in that song is so true to who I am,” she shares. “I feel really connected with singing in these kinds of bars and the community that supports that, so this is my ode to them.”
While continually looking forward with her progressive take on country music, Bailey also looks back to honor the genre’s West Coast roots. The album’s second planned single, “Skid Row,” is a rollicking, toe-tapping ode to a beloved LA honky tonk and the Bakersfield sound. On the soulful third single, “Spent My Dime on White Wine,” she leans in for support from an uplifting gospel choir and a bluesy guitar as she traverses the hard road of perseverance in what can be an uphill climb for a career in music. When times get tough, she finds resolute faith and strength in singing for “the two lonely hearts in the crowd.” The single release will be accompanied by a video for the song.
“The Beginning” is a love-laced, butterfly-stirring portrait of the initial encounter between two lovers as fate unites them on a dance floor. Elsewhere, Bailey is penning a different kind of ode, including one where she’s perfectly unafraid to call out an ex for his two-timing ways. The reality-checking “Ramblin’ Man” cleverly points out double standards for those who hide behind the can’t-be-tied-down outlaw mentality in lieu of fidelity and honesty: “And you call yourself a cowboy / Because you come and you go as you please.” On the aptly-titled “Outlaws,” she ponders why these musicians are tough to pin down over a waltz-like guitar strum.
She pays tribute to the great Johnny Cash with her rendition of “Tennessee,” a faithful take on a staple that seamlessly blends in with her eight originals on the album. The album comes to a tender close on “Travelin’ Kind,” a cautionary tale about the struggles of maintaining a relationship with a musician who spends the majority of her time out on the road. “Homegrown Roots” is a playful salute to Nashville and brings listeners a taste of Music City with a sing-along-friendly refrain.
Raised under the rays of the sun in Huntington Beach, CA, the classic country singer-songwriter was surrounded by music in her household from an early age. From her drumming father’s rock ‘n’ roll band practices to her mom playing the narrative-driven songbooks of folk icons like Cat Stevens and James Taylor, Bailey was naturally drawn to music and the art of storytelling. After falling in love with the guitar at the age of 12, she quickly developed an affinity for songwriting in her late teens and garnered the kind of support system every musical child would dream of. Her father was so impressed by her talent that he called on his three musically-inclined best friends to join him in becoming his daughter’s backing band, eventually performing shows around town.
It was the at-first daunting yet exhilarating aspect of performing live that made Bailey realize this was life’s path for her. She found a sense of community very early on by playing honky tonks and bars that allowed the opportunity to cut her teeth on the craft of traditional country music. With five or six years of diligently working the Golden State’s music scene under her belt, she was ready to transpose her striking penchant for storytelling from the stage into an impressive full-length label debut.
Distilled into three vivid symbols on Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline, Bailey weaves these honest stories together for a refreshing examination of real-life American trials and tribulations through her heartfelt lens. “I hope that listeners get to know me and my story through this album, and what I love the most in life,” she says. “Just to be brought back into what classic country captures and makes people feel good about, I hope that it resonates in that same way.” Indeed, it’s a welcome reminder of country music’s potency — both sonically and thematically — to ease and comfort today’s listeners through relatable storytelling, and Bailey is a promising torchbearer for the genre’s rich legacy and where it’s heading.