C’est Jeudi! There is no week nor day nor hour when music isn’t inspiring our …
Rasta Mon Day [Rasta Monday] was created to celebrate Reggae and Jamaican music. With a focus on Rastafarian influenced sounds, the theme also introduces readers to Ska, Roots, and Rocksteady. It is not centered around the Rastafarian movement or spiritual concepts associated with it. Do fulljoy the sounds, lyrics, and influences of Jamaica’s unique sound.
Born to a Jamaican father and British mother, Liam Bailey’s musical influences range from soul to reggae, and punk to R&B. While his voice is often compared to that of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, he’s as likely to reference Etta James as he is The Smiths. Known for co-writing Chase & Status’ Top 5 smash: “Blind Faith feat. Liam Bailey,” Liam’s initial introduction to the music business came via the late Amy Winehouse who, after meeting him released his first 2 EPs on her Lioness Records imprint. Amy first heard Liam’s music through a mutual friend & acclaimed producer Salaam Remi, who amongst others, is working with Liam on his debut album. The album, which was also co-written and produced by Bailey will be released by Flying Buddha (Sony Music Masterworks) in August, coinciding with a U.S. tour.
Having been a huge fan of his summer hit “Soon Come” (courtesy of David Rodigan’s BBC radio show) I was highly anticipating hearing Liam’s new album “Definitely Now” live. Luckily, I was NY for the month so Ricardo and I made a trip over to Central Park to check out City Parks x Giant Step presents Liam Bailey Summerstage NYC. The show proved to be an excellent display for Liam as he got the crowd hype with his high energy performance of “Villain” and “On my mind”. Although he never touched on his more soulful ballads like “So down cold” and “Stun me” I was still happy with his performance and decided to go link him backstage.
Upon arriving backstage, we noticed that Liam was tied up with interviews and pictures so we chilled for a minute with Salaam Remi and Sarah Stennett (Liam’s manager). Finally, he finished his last interview and we all went to the trailer to chop it up. It was a very natural first encounter as he told us stories of performing in Jamaica with Spragga Benz and how he was put on the spot during the performance by an announcer from TVJ. We spoke about the music industry, football (Nottingham Forest), him moving to Brooklyn, and his upcoming show at Soho House (which I happened to be in town for again). All in all, he was a real vibes yout’ and I can definitely see him going far in the industry not only because of his sound, but also for his kind outgoing spirit.
After listening to the entire album which takes you on a serendipitous journey through rock, reggae, and soul, we have found our favourite. The track “So Down, Cold” is a marvelously composed love ballad with a classic reggae ‘hop’ to it. The electric guitar (panned far right) apart from all the other instruments tells a story of its own. Skillfully plucked arpeggios and slides are placed organically throughout the track to follow Liam’s vocal melodies. Moreover, the lyrics have a chilling (no pun intended) effect especially for the first time listener. He states, “What does it look like today? What does it feel like today? I cannot love you this way, when you’re So Down, Cold. I believe you can’t be loved, love you and leave you alone, I cannot love you alone, when you’re So Down, Cold”.
It is a fairly simple track as far as structure, but that doesn’t take away anything from it’s brilliance. It even seems like Liam had to do a few takes to get it ‘just right’ as he states in the album commentary, “I’m glad I managed to pull it off with this record, because I tried it a couple times, and it didn’t always work”.
Anyway, Big ups to Liam for this amazing track, and congrats to him on releasing a great new album. If you’d like to find out more, visit his website and if you’d like to purchase the album, you can do so HERE.
Have a happy Rasta Monday wherever you are in the world, bless up!