IAN M BAILEY – Songs To Dream Along To (Kool Kat Musik PURR2203)

Songs To Dream Along ToEarlier this year, Bailey released an  EP of four songs in collaboration with Daniel Wylie from Cosmic Rough Riders. The response was encouraging enough to prompt a full album’s worth in a similar vein, evoking the heady days of Byrdsian folk rock and Laurel Canyon harmonies. All four of the EP cuts are included (you can check out comments on those in here the Folking archive), but  Songs To Dream Along To kicking off with the first new number, the jangly strum and circling 12 string notes of ‘This Is Not A Feeling’, a straightforward love songs, the second being the equally chiming ‘A Place To Live’, a  song that seems to be about finding yourself down on your luck but putting up with things knowing in the belief it won’t last (“All our days are in their command/It’s just a place to live/A place where we can be together/It’s just a place to live/It won’t be here forever”), sharing a sentiment with those old spirituals about eventually being free from earthly chains and returning home.

The longest track, ‘The Sound Of Her Voice’ is a McCartneyequse fingerpicked, strings backed bittersweet song of consolation in the face of loss  (“I could tell by the sound of her voice/She left here without any choice but she loved you…lost her heart to a world of unkind/Lost her strength to the ghosts in her mind but she loved you”), playing out with a psychedelic flourish, while the more uptempo ‘I’m Not Your Enemy’, a call to come together (“we’re learning to fly and love is the remedy/That takes down the enemy”), echoes classic REM.

‘Midday At Hope Lodge’ is a brief instrumental interlude with George Harrison-like sitar colours, the harmonies picking up again with the swayalong ‘Just Like A Child (Dream Catcher)’, the echoey vocals behind the circling guitar motif recalling the early Bee Gees. It ends on a dreamy, falsetto CS&N note with the last of the new numbers, ‘The Best Out Of Me’, the lyrics again bittersweet in its images of  a perhaps mental health-enforced separation (“She’s hoping that in time she can stay/Living out her days she’s left out in front of you”) and of the loneliness it brings (“all the roses that bloomed/By the window you’ve been looking through/Are left sadder than grey/Cos no one came again today/And all I can do/Is always be my best for you”).

There’s been a spate of releases of late that have harked back to the jangly West Coast folk rock of the 60s, this is up there with the best of them.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: www.facebook.com/Ianbaileymusicandinfo/

‘Just Like A Child (Dreamcatcher)’;

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