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Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Band Americana Blues


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"Review: Burden The Hand"

Bailey - Burden The Hand

2008, Baileymusic

Ohio native Chris Bailey has released six albums since 1999, both individually and with his band Moonlight Graham. Weaned on 1970's singer/songwriter types such as Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, Paul McCartney and John Lee Hooker, Bailey writes in a bluesy folk style that would have fit in with the folks above while retaining a modern edge. Bailey's latest release, Burden The Hand is intensely personal and forthright, using a broad range of instruments and sounds to tell a series of 7 stories to highly entertaining and complex musical arrangements.

Bailey opens with Sunny Road, a blues flavored folk rocker that would do Van Morrison proud. The arrangement is bare through most of the song but builds to a delicious crescendo as the chorus concludes. Bailey delves deeper into the Blues on Burden The Hand. Bailey's voice is incredibly soulful here with just the right mix of gruffness. The song builds from barebones to a big jam surrounding the tasty guitar riff that drives the song. This is my personal favorite song on the disc. River sticks with the blues sound and brings out a vocal quality that you hear before now but becomes extremely plain on River. Bailey sounds very, very similar to Dave Matthews. The main difference is that whatever Matthews is vocally, Bailey is more so. Bailey has just a bit more gruffness to his voice, and vocally has a more compelling sound than Matthews (based on tone, power, etc.). DMB fans will find themselves doing double takes when they first hear Bailey.

On Top Of The World is more in the singer-songwriter style Bailey grew up with. The song is a bit of genius writing. Bailey sounds like no one but himself here, and the performance is excellent. Between The Tracks sounds like Bob Dylan meets Billy Joel stylistically. It's pleasant singer-songwriter stuff but perhaps doesn't stand out quite the way some of the other material here does. The EP closes out with In Your Hands and Flowers, two musical short stories that are pleasant closure to a strong introduction.

Chris Bailey offers a memorable performance on Burden The Hand, proving that the singer/songwriter genre is alive and well. Highly introspective and reserved, Bailey offers up 7 vignettes in song that are entertaining and gratifying listens. The market for Burden The Hand probably veers strongly toward older music fans, but Bailey will find adherents across all age groups. There's nothing glitzy here, just good old fashioned music.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

- Wildy's World


My nexy guest is a one man band and he proves that on his album, ‘Burden The Hand.’ Bailey is from Los Angeles by way of Ohio. He spent the better part of 2008 recording ‘Burden The Hand’ in his Hollywood apartment. Bailey went without a band as he played all the instruments from guitar, harmonica, keys and percussion. He also got Ted Greenberg to master the EP. It is a breath of fresh air talking with a musician like Bailey who does not do music for fame or fortune but because it is in his soul.
Stoli: How long have you been playing music?
Bailey: Since I was a wee lad. I grew up listening to my mom sing & play guitar.
Stoli: At what point in life did you realize that you wanted to pursue music full time?
Bailey: I’d think it really seemed like a possibility when I was in art school (college). I’d always played guitar - but I started writing my own tunes and jamming with pals. People seemed to like what I was doing & things just started to click.
Stoli: What was the transition like moving from the Ohio music scene to Los Angeles?
Bailey: You have to be willing to go from being a decent sized fish in a small pond - to a teensy weensy fish in the vast ocean. Entertainers in Los Angeles are a dime a dozen, respectfully… but, there’s much more opportunity in Los Angeles & the weather is always nice. I’ve met many amazing people who are making things happen. My latest record was mastered by a two-time Grammy winner. Things like that don’t happen to often back home.
Stoli: In 2008 you released the EP. “Burden The Hand.” What is the meaning behind that title?
Bailey: It’s sort of a play on words. Burden The Hand twists the phrase “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. Which means that it’s better to keep what you have than to give it up and try to get something better. To Burden The Hand would be to carry around your worries.
Stoli: What kind of state of mind & environment must you be in to create music?
Bailey: Whatever the mood may be… on occasion a moment of calm arrives… That’s when it happens.
Stoli: If you could name one thing that you love about being a musician what would that be?
Bailey: Meeting people. It’s amazing how many folks you can meet doing this gig.
Stoli: Your last EP was a solo effort. What is the advantages to recording & creating music alone than with a band?

Bailey: Well, when you’re alone - you have the final say… But, that’s not always a good thing. There’s nothing better than getting together and jammin’ with your boys. Sometimes that’s not feasible so you do it on your own. I needed to challenge myself on this one.
Stoli: After you have created a track how do you test that track and see if it’s a hit?
Bailey: I can’t say what is a hit & what isn’t a hit… but if the song makes me feel something - then, to me, it’s a keeper. If I can play it over and over and over again without getting sick of it - it’s a hit.
Stoli: You play all the instruments on ‘Burden The Hand.’ For those not familiar how do you accomplish such a huge feat?
Bailey: Necessity. I was spoiled by my days in Moonlight Graham. Bill Littleford is an amazing musician, i learned more from him than anyone I know. Whenever I’d come up with an idea - he’d just make it work. Now, being all by myself - I had to really challenge myself to play other parts and instruments that I would’ve leaned on Bill for. But doing something all by yourself really can give you a sense of great accomplishment (if it goes well).
Stoli: At what point will music consumers only purchase digitally and do you see that as a good or bad thing?
Bailey: There will always be a need for physical media. Consumers want to feel like the “get their money’s worth”. So, if I’m going to pay 10 or 15 bucks on a record - I want to have something other than just a few megabytes on my hard drive to show for it …But, I wish I hadn’t sold my Apple stocks back in 2000.
Stoli: What is the most personal track on ‘Burden The Hand’ and why?

Bailey: That’s a tough one. Probably ‘Between The Tracks’. I wrote it about the state of the world & the wars we seem to keep fighting.
Stoli: Where can readers get more from Bailey and what is coming up for you?
Bailey: Come on over! We’ll have a beer or two. For those outside of the greater Los Angeles area, find me online at A new album is in the works… keep your eyes and ears peeled for that soon. -

"For your living room..."

"Sparse production reveals intimate tunes that would work nicely on a big stage or your best friend's living room."
- Fran Snyder |

"Review: Burden The Hand"

Burden the Hand

With Burden the Hand Ohio native Chris Bailey sails through the gamut of acoustic, folk, blues and soul with about as much ease as a singer can. It works less as an EP as it does a sampler of what the singer songwriter is capable of. Clocking in less than twenty minutes and moves even faster upon listening, it’s a shame really given that it leaves for wanting much, much more.

Rather subtly, but often, Bailey’s voice changes and varies from the hushed growl of a singer like Dave Matthews or the bluesy strengths of Patrick Sweany. Take note, Bailey is his own singer but he does wear influences on his sleeve like Cat Stevens or Jim Croce, especially on ‘Between the Tracks.’ His gentle coarseness and cigarette-rich vocal tone lends itself effortlessly to all the songs, especially the older-than-he-should-sound of ‘River.’ Bailey fuses a myriad of flavors to craft Burden the Hand into something familiar while keeping it unique. His slow drawl on the title track zig-zags along against guitar plucking, building as if nearing a dance number but never completes itself. ‘Sunny Road’ is soft and stark, a song that grows into a larger number than it originates as.

Chris Bailey is a singer-songwriter with a vast amount of direction to grow and the ability to wander into numerous genres. Like Chris Whitley or Mississippi Fred McDowell, to name just two, Bailey sounds real.

Brian Tucker
Bootleg Magazine
Wilmington, NC - Bootleg Magazine


Burden The Hand (2008)

gone.Circus (2005) Moonlight Graham

The Unknown Weather Test (2003) Moonlight Graham

Caught Running in the Rain (2001) Moonlight Graham

Wallpaper (2000)

Apartment 8 (1999)



Ohio-born, multi-instrumentalist and lyricist Chris Bailey's first memories occur riding in the back of his mom's old Chevy Nova, listening to 8-tracks of Jim Croce singing "Operator" and "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," while watching the blur of the small-town street lights in the windshield. Bailey grew up listening to his mother perform her songs. When she would finish, young Bailey would don his plastic fireman's helmet and take over on guitar to perform for an avid audience of stuffed animals. 

As Bailey entered the public school system, he began taping his favorite songs off the radio and making compilations for his friends. All were complete with hand-drawn art and personalized liner notes. Years later, in an age where his homemade mix tapes might be considered piracy, Bailey invests in writing and recording music of his own.  

Since beginning his recording and touring career in 1999, Bailey has released six albums, both solo and with his group, Moonlight Graham. "gone.Circus" (Moonlight Graham 2005) was a breakthrough, artistically and commercially, for Bailey and band-mate, Bill Littleford. Receiving glowing reviews, television placement and national radio play, "gone.Circus" found its way onto the 2006 Grammy Ballot in two categories: Category 16 - Best Rock Performance by a Duo/Group with Vocals and Category 20 - Best Rock Song.

After several years of recording and performing throughout the Midwest, Bailey headed to Los Angeles to further cultivate his craft. In late 2008, Bailey recorded his solo release, "Burden the Hand." The seven-song EP was recorded mainly in Bailey's Hollywood apartment and mastered by two-time Grammy Award-winning producer, Ted Greenberg.

Bailey's home-recording technique creates a natural-sounding album, reminiscent of Paul McCartney's early, post-Beatles records, as well as artists of the 60’s and 70’s, such as the Beatles, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker. With a vast range of influences, Bailey's soulful style connects with listeners, while remaining far from typical.

The latest effort, "Burden the Hand," displays his use of many instruments including guitar, harmonica, percussion, keys and even whistling. Even though Bailey performed all the parts track by track, it sounds as if there were a room full of musicians laying down the folksy, blues vibe. Moving songs about moving on, "Burden the Hand" proves to be Bailey's most emotional and creative work to date.