Album Review

Bailey Zimmerman - Religiously: The Album

Loaded with ammo for radio, this might end up being one of the premier Country releases of the year.

Bailey Zimmerman - Religiously: The Album Album Cover
May 11, 2023 8:29 am GMT

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Bailey Zimmerman - Religiously: The Album

Label: Warner Music Nashville / Elektra

Release Date: May 12th 2023

Producer: Austin Shawn

Tracklisting:

1. Religiously

2. Warzone

3. Fix’n’ To Break

4. Forget About You

5. Chase Her

6. Fall In Love

7. You Don’t Want That Smoke

8. Found Your Love

9. Rock And A Hard Place

10. Other Side Of Lettin’ Go

11. Pain Won’t Last

12. Where It Ends

13. God’s Gonna Cut You Down

14. Fadeaway

15. Get To Gettin’ Gone

16. Is This Really Over?

The trajectory to superstardom is in motion for Bailey Zimmerman.

Soaring streaming numbers, opening slots with the genre’s heavy hitters and award nominations have set a level of expectation for Religiously: The Album, the likes of which are rarely seen for debuts. Zimmerman’s fledgling career is a runaway train that shows no signs of slowing down. So does the quality live up to the hype?

The collection offers an impactful blend of thunderous stadium anthems and introspective ballads from the gravel-voiced Illinois native, who plants his stake in the ground with authority. Zimmerman knows his place, is firmly in touch with the needs of his following and never strays too far from familiar ground.

At a lengthy 16 tracks, it’s a middle-of-the-road collection at times, but infectious all the same, with earworm choruses and commercial hits-in-waiting from start to finish.

Take the dirty laundry-ridden ‘Forget About You’ as a prime candidate; a filthy electric guitar-driven, Aldean-esque head-banger - “I can forgive, but I can’t forget about you”. Meanwhile, ‘Fall In Love’ is an instant favourite with its rustic, swampy feel, blurring the boundaries with a blend of soaring electric guitars and a killer vocal delivery.

Amongst the polished production, however, there's a refreshing allegiance to traditional instrumentation, whether it be the bluegrass strings of ‘Fade Away’ or the soulful rawness of the closing track ‘Is This Really Over’.

It's in these moments where Zimmerman truly excels, particularly in the more reflective, vulnerable offerings of the back half that offer a welcome relief from the bombastic anthems.

‘You Don’t Want That Smoke’ is a 3-minute fiddle-backed delight; a warning to an unsuspecting ‘Next Guy’, as a certain Carly Pearce might describe them. “If you breathe her in, you’ll be breathing out an SOS… and you don’t want that smoke”.

One of the album’s five outside cuts, it’s no surprise to see Tucker Beathard’s lyrical genius accredited. Another highlight, ‘Found Your Love’ finds Zimmerman’s love interest turning a “rambling heart” from lost to found; a Jon Pardi-esque piece of traditional bliss.

Make no mistake, it won’t be long until we’re including Bailey Zimmerman in that Combs-Wallen category. Religiously: The Album might not reinvent the wheel, but there’s a gritty authenticity and a reliable quality to Zimmerman's material that screams mainstream appeal.

Loaded with ammo for radio, this might end up being one of the premier Country releases of the year.

7.5/10

Bailey Zimmerman's 2023 album, Religiously: The Album, is released May 12 via Warner Music Nashville / Elektra.

For more Bailey Zimmerman, see below:

Written by Dan Wharton
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