By Jof Owen
This is country music. Just as heartwarming and wholesome as grandma used to make.
1. A Cowgirl Rides On
2. Waiting At The Gate
3. Forever, You & I
4. Snake Trails
5. End Of The Line
7. Down From The Mountain
8. Sweet By & By
When aliens land on earth and begin asking questions about what exactly country music is and isn’t, then just play them the new album from Victoria Bailey to clearly explain to them what it very definitely is.
At its easily loveable heart, A Cowgirl Rides On is a bluegrass gospel album. All the songs lead back there in some way. Whether it’s the strength and self-assurance needed as she rebuilds her life after a breakup, or finding her faith riding her horse through a canyon and how it too brought her closer to God, the songs all feel their way around in the dark before finding the same familiar footing.
Like making a delicious trifle, what goes into a classic country record is surprisingly simple, but getting it just right is a rare treat. A Cowgirl Rides On is a joyous pile-up of old-timey country as layers of gorgeous pedal steel soak the base of every song with the fabulously rich, deep flavours of mandolin and banjo, a sherbet-sharp fiddle and lashings of sweet and luxuriously smooth harmonies.
With any trifle, its success lies in the quality of the fruit, and the fruit here is the songs themselves. Ripe, juicy and packing a brandy-soaked punch, the songs on A Cowgirl Rides On offer up a twist on a beloved original that will assuage traditionalists and country newcomers alike.
There are many reasons for making country music, but for Victoria Bailey, it’s about preservation. Keeping alive a country tradition and sound that’s been lost somewhere along the way; a sound that’s been served up more regularly perhaps in recent years, but that still feels like a recipe from the past. A recipe that Bailey whips up to perfection.
This is country music. Just as heartwarming and wholesome as grandma used to make. You’ll want one of them big spoons for this one.
Victoria Bailey's 2023 album, A Cowgirl Rides On, is released October 6 via Rock Ridge Music.