Photo by Shane McCauley
British singer-songwriter Liam Bailey has popped up in all sorts of interesting places throughout his short career. There was his time spent in the hip-hop collective 1st Blood, which resulted in an album on trip-hop pioneers Tricky’s now-defunct label. Bailey also appeared as a member of the folk band the Accidental, and he co-wrote and sang “Blind Faith” with the group Chase & Status, which was a smash dance-pop hit in the UK in 2011. Between all these projects, Bailey befriended the late Amy Winehouse, who started encouraging his more soul-flavored songs. A pair of EPs in 2010 showcased Bailey’s writing alongside covers of Etta James and the Smiths.
Now comes Bailey’s proper solo debut, the fittingly-titled Definitely Now. Out August 19, the album synthesizes all these disparate influences through Bailey’s love of classic R&B and reggae. He brings a little Winehouse-like darkness to his songs, especially on the leadoff track “On My Mind.” Over a machine-gun beat, Bailey smoothly croons his way through a song that threads together blues, garage rock, and soul, finding a sweet intersection between all three.