In her new LP, Daughter Of Abraham, Massachusetts-based artist Sandy Bailey weaves an intricate tapestry of introspection, resilience, and the profound connections that bind us. Through poignant storytelling, thoughtful songwriting, and soulful melodies, she delves into the depths of love, loss, identity, and the complexities of modern existence. As a biracial, working-class, single mother who left a Pentecostal upbringing behind for the freedom to create her art, Bailey had no shortage of experiences from which to mine.
In album opener “I Ain’t Your Honey,” Bailey’s soulful voice takes center stage, delivering lyrics that ponder the packaging of intimacy and vulnerability in the age of internet dating. She juxtaposes the peculiar ways we construct our online personas and navigate technology-driven connections against the quest for genuine human interaction. In “Already Down,” she points out the glaring contrasts of modern society – even in her own seemingly educated, free-thinking community, countless folks grapple with addiction, poverty, and divisive ideologies. In the album’s standout, emotive title track, inspired by Bailey’s historic home and its rumored ties to the Underground Railroad, she channels and honors the spirits of her ancestors who may have sought refuge within those very walls. With its slow cadence and swampy guitar licks, the song mimics a former slave’s deliberate pace and treacherous trek to freedom, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable cruelty and injustice.
“Get The Message Through,” a Linda Ronstadt-esque heartstring-tugger, explores the paradox of our hyper-connected yet increasingly lonely society, while “Waiting on Summer” builds on this idea, capturing a yearning for actual human connection. The track, a collaborative effort with friends and loved ones, opens up sonically like a blooming flower in sunlight. Bailey addresses the struggles of addiction in “Bottles of Emptiness,” its empathetic narrative offering hope and encouragement to anyone facing similar battles.
Bailey’s opus takes a whimsical yet lighthearted turn in “Time’s Gonna Come,” a song inspired by a chance encounter with a conversational sparrow. “Like You Loved Me,” originally recorded a decade ago, is a testament to her growth as an artist – its 70s rock-inspired reimagined version features her son’s matured vocals among the chorus of voices at the song’s end.
“Dear John,” a touching tribute to the legendary John Prine, reflects the unity and sense of loss that prevailed during those recent, uncertain times. The journey ends with “Got Nobody,” a celebration of the freedom and independence of singlehood – a refreshing perspective in a world often dominated by tales (and woes) of romantic longing.
Amidst the musical mosaic that is Daughter Of Abraham, Sandy Bailey’s artistry shines. The wisdom and soul in this collection of songs resonate long after its final notes fade.
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