Andrew Bailie is Making Good Sounds in Omaha and Beyond
Andrew Bailie is an American songwriter, singer and guitarist. His intricate songs are crafted with raw emotion, fierce guitar work, and an unmistakable, soaring voice. Drawing elements from a variety of musical styles and traditions, Bailie’s songs are woven from his own hopes, fears and enchantment, tapping into the common human experiences that give us pause, inspire longing, or set us ablaze.
If you listen to Bailie’s work, you’ll get the sense that he’s a traveller. Not just geographically, but sonically as well. Though he has played on sessions with the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill and Aloe Blacc, toured Europe with Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles, and played countless bars, clubs, and dives in NYC, he’s never lost that humble Midwestern charm.
Cutting his teeth at the Goofyfoot in Omaha, Bailie led a band called The Jazzwholes in experimentation. They developed a grassroots following, which Bailie recalls was like its own little scene. But, Bailie’s dream had always been to live in New York and soak up the musical talent the city had to offer. Bailie recalls sessions and tours where he was “the worst musician in the room,” though it’s difficult to imagine this was true. Bailie gleaned all he could from his time in the city that never sleeps, and returned back to Omaha to focus on his own material. He brought back with him the tricks of the trade he picked up along the way, and still collaborates with a number of the musicians he met on the twisting highways of his life.
Recent singles “A Slow Demise” and “Mr. Sunshine” show the humanity and heart behind Bailie’s genre-bending brand of songwriting. For Bailie, the present is the driving force behind his songs. And this undoubtedly hearkens back to his days in residency at the Goofyfoot. “A Slow Demise” shows Bailie commenting on the twilight of American democracy. With conviction, he sings, “How many times must we hear / New testament lies / When all victory cries / Are paid for with lives / It’s the old price of fear / The cold price of fear / Baby don’t you live in fear.” As the funky shuffle of the music swells around the lyrics, Bailie peers into the darkness of the age of influence. This duality is common in his work – upbeat music with serious lyrics.
“Mr. Sunshine” was written as a tribute to Bailie’s cousin, who passed away at a young age in 2015. Recorded at Grand Street Recording in Brooklyn with bandmates from his Jazzwholes days, the song moves between gospel vibes and prog jams with ease. Bailie sings, “And all he want was for you to want for nothing / Let me count the ways he care/ Say hello to your brand new friend, baby / And now he everything, he exist everywhere.” It’s a hopeful spin on grief, pain, and loss, with Bailie’s phase shifting guitar providing an onslaught of catchy hooks and melodies. With a Telecaster in hand, it seems as though there’s nothing Bailie can’t do.
At the end of the day, Andrew Bailie just wants to make good sounds. For an artist that has shared the stage with the likes of George Clinton, Talib Kweli, and Marcus Miller, there’s no air of pretention in Bailie’s work. Bailie’s approach is meticulous without losing its humanity. Carefree without being careless. Skilled while still reaching for new horizons. Bailie is one of the new American greats; a human being attempting to live life ever in the present. And his insistence on the moment reminds us that truly, that is all we have. In the coming years as the world begins to returns to normal, Bailie hopes to record a slew of new songs and bring those songs to cities all over the world.
“Drawing elements from a variety of musical styles and traditions, Bailie’s songs are woven from his own hopes, fears and enchantments, tapping into the common human experiences that give us pause, inspire longing, or sets us ablaze.”Ghettoblaster Magazine
“Contrasting hopeful sounds with lyrics that deal with heavier reflection, Bailie demonstrates his dynamic and intriguing approach to music with this tune.“Glide Magazine