‘Empty Fields’ by Ian Bailey - an unassuming live recording by an accomplished singer songwriter(April 04, 2015)
The first time I heard singer-songwriter Ian Bailey was on the album ‘Tower Songs’ and that was a while ago now. The man in question has released a new album, ‘Empty Fields’ and it's a stunning piece of work. Lyrics that cut hard, deep and sharp, unadorned, minimal accompaniment of precisely picked guitar and a voice that brings home the messages with both power and compassion. The strength of this album lies in its stripped back approach, nothing added that doesn’t need to be there, nothing included for embellishment, nothing more than an unassuming live recording by an accomplished singer songwriter performing intimate songs built around exquisitely expressive melodies.
‘Empty Fields’ has a personal, almost private touch. You’re listening to an artist expressing subjective, feeling-soaked narratives that carry significance and meaning. The songs on the album reveal powerful innermost observations through the perceptive musings of ‘Lovers Moon’, the reflective ‘See Saw’ and the deeply moving supplication to experience peace through ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’ (no, not that one). All reflections of one man’s view of places, people and relationships. The moods change towards a slightly more caustic examination of life and its vagaries as Bailey takes on a harder interpretive edge with ‘The Heart of this Machine’, the barely concealed sadness of ‘She’s Waking Up To Close Her Eyes’, or the pragmatic understanding of ‘Make Room For Her Instead’.
The songs on ‘Empty Fields’ simply get better and better, the movement through the album taking you further into a wealth of lyrical richness, the powerful empathy of ‘Farewell My Fairweather Friend’ reaches out to you in a way that few songs can. And then, saving the best ‘til last, the album closes with the title track ‘Empty Fields’. Whatever you views on raising animals for food, this is possibly the most harrowing song about the treatment of slaughtered animals I’ve ever heard. If it doesn’t touch you then part of your soul has left you. Deserving of considerably more attention, Bailey stands as a most perceptive songwriter.
‘Empty Fields’ is released on Northern Sun Recordings. Find the man and his music here: ianbailey-music.moonfruit.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll