British indie-folk outfit ‘Joe Bailey’ isn’t actually just Joe Bailey. Surprisingly, It’s really two long-time friends and musicians Joe Bailey and Gaz Wilby. Wedded by their passion for eclectic, vintage soundscapes. Initially, Joe had written an acoustic album that his musical soulmate Gaz was going to mix and master for him. But when the opportunity arose for them to work their musical magic in tandem, it only seemed right.
“After getting back the first mixes I thought it sounded like an unfinished album, at which point Gaz said he loved the songs and would be up for adding other instruments and ideas… so that’s what we did!”
What Joe and Gaz managed to create is bluesy, folksy and unmistakably retro in its feel. ‘Without Love’ traverses soft blues tones with jangly guitar riffs, and tom-heavy percussion lifts the energy. Cries of “without love we’ve got nothing at all” transform the track into something truly rousing. There’s modern touches. Subtle piano musings underpin the whole thing. Yet a definite 60s anthemic feel runs throughout.
‘Without Love’ is taken from Joe Bailey’s soon-to-be-released full-length album (a self-titled project) – a collection of tracks close to Joe’s heart. “This track and the whole album are the most personal and honest songs I’ve ever written. I’d not written any music for quite a few years and I did a lot of self-reflection in that time – I just felt like I needed to write some music again so I wrote this album.”
The 36-year-old is keen not to tie the Joe Bailey duo to any particular set of artists or genres. Instead, he clarifies that their sound is an all-welcoming vibe. “I don’t know who our music is similar to but there’s been a few comments saying ‘Without Love’ reminded them of The Beatles. This is obviously a super cool comparison for people to make. But I don’t know, maybe it’s for people who dig the kind of 60s/70s sounds and vibe – I’d like to think we’ve made some songs that almost anyone will enjoy.”
The pair worked closely on the creative production of their album, yet Joe remains humble about his own songwriting process. “I’ll just get a guitar melody or maybe a line of a song pop into my head and then I’ll go find my guitar and just write,” he says. “I think a lot of the songs from this album kind of wrote themselves. I know it sounds stupid but sometimes I don’t even know where the words I write are coming from.”
Gaz Wilby collaborates on the album in epic style. ‘Without Love’ in particular. What was supposed to be an acoustic serenade became a powerful song of love through the virtues of innovative instrumentation, production and delicate mixing and mastering. “‘Without Love’ was just a few guitar chords and some words when I first sent it to him. He’s brought the whole thing to life,” Joe reflects.
Furthermore, for a musician who hasn’t written music for years, ‘Without Love’ represents a special re-introduction to the scene. One that he’s extremely proud of, and should be. The talented songwriter has some way to go to catch Paul McCartney and co. But backed by the musical prowess and unbounded friendship of Gaz Wilby – can firmly cement his place in the indie-folk arena.