Victoria Bailey A Cowgirl Rides On

By Brian Rock

Classic Country revivalist, Victoria Bailey rides again on her sophomore album, A Cowgirl Rides On. Combining Appalachian bluegrass with Sons of the Pioneers era western music, Bailey takes us on a cross country tour through 1950’s country AM radio. Eschewing the Bakersfield sound of her debut, and incorporating more country gospel, this disc is more Dale Evans than Jean Shepard. But Bailey’s voice channels Loretta Lynn and Eilen Jewell to create a timeless elegance in her songs.

The title track is a mediation on solitude. Strains of fiddle and alternating bass notes set a sparse backdrop as Bailey sings, “The road west was waiting as she’s wandering on. Steady in the saddle, down the road she’s gone.” Inspired by the memoir, DISTANT SKIES, she interprets the true story of a woman who traveled from New York to California on horseback. Confronting loneliness, attuning with the natural peace of the prairie, communing with the parishioners in small town churches; Bailey achieves a deeper inner peace. When courted along the way by a cowboy suitor, Bailey reveals, “She tried hard to love him, but her heart moved along. She belongs to the prairie and the river’s her song.” Subtle strains of peddle steel accentuate her Zen realization that, connected to everyone she can no longer belong to just one.

Fiddle and mandolin add emotional depth to the campfire western of, “Sabina.” The song presages the cross-country journey she’s about to take. Assessing the current state of her character, Bailey sings, “Sabina you’re playing with fire, and the man who you once desired. Sabina, set yourself free from the barflies and the gamblers and all in between.” It’s clear a new start is called for. “Forever, You & I,” reckons with the aftermath of leaving her old life and love behind. Banjo and fiddle add a bluegrass flair as she moans, “And it’s harder, but I’m healing over time.” “End Of The Line,” finds Bailey nearing the end of her cross country journey. Against a gentle background of mandolin and fiddle, she recalls old friends and towns she’s passed along the way.

Having completed her trek, Bailey finds herself transformed. No longer talking about people or places, she finds her attention drawn to more spiritual topics. “Snake Trails” combines bluegrass and Bakersfield to describe how her passage across the great plains of America is just a prelude to her passage to the “Great Land” above. “Down From The Mountain,” is a country gospel hymn of leaving home to find your salvation. “Sweet By & By,” is a gentle hymn about reaching the end of life’s journey at “the mansion in the sky.” Bailey ends her journey, “Waiting At The Gate.” A faithful rendition of the Ricky Skaggs song, Bailey’s voice captures the joy and optimism of reaching the promised land after a long and arduous journey.   |   fb   |   buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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