Victoria Bailey has the voice of an angel, yet her music is sometimes country-rough and gritty, a late-night honky tonk come to life, with lyrics that can inform and evoke emotions from all who listen. She just released a brand new single, an acoustic version of a song called "Skid Row," and it's a peeled-back take on a song that she released previously on her album last year, "Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline." Roughstock got a chance to sit down with Bailey to talk about "Skid Row (Acoustic)," what made her want to revisit the song and record a new version, how she came to find her sound, and how she's been connecting with fans during the pandemic.
Roughstock: Hi Victoria! Thanks for joining us today. We love your new song, "Skid Row (Acoustic)." What is the story behind this song? Why did you write it?
Victoria Bailey: Hi guys! Thanks so much for having me! “Skid Row” is a nod to the Bakersfield sound and the country music that came out of California. It’s entitled “Skid Row” after a honky tonk bar that rests right in the middle of LA's Skid Row called The Escondite, which is one of my favorite places to play!
Roughstock: This is a new version of a song that appeared on your album that came out last year, "Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline." How did you come to re-record this song in a different way? What kind of a vibe were you going for on this version of the song when you recorded it?
Victoria Bailey: Recording this song acoustic was really just a special way to put an end cap to the promotion for the record and circling back to how the song first sounded when I wrote it on my guitar. We made a really fun music video to go along with it, too, which we will be releasing soon! My intention when writing the song was to introduce myself as a California country artist and what inspires me most.
Roughstock: How does "Skid Row (Acoustic)" fit into the overall vibe and themes of your music in general?
Victoria Bailey: This version being acoustic is a complete representation of who I have been as an artist for years. Playing solo in town and traveling for the past decade is how I got to where I am today with songwriting, the musicians I play with, and how I really found my voice and what I wanted to sing about. “Skid Row” was such an important song for me to include on the record because of the homage to California country music.
Roughstock: Was this a music-first or a lyrics-first song for you? Which way do you tend to write in general, music or lyrics first?
Victoria Bailey: It was lyrics first for sure, which was just an accumulation of things I found inspiring from digging in deep to “the Bakersfield sound” era and its history. I think most of my songs start this way, built around an idea of something that completely captures me and that I’m eager to tell a story about. I’ve never written a song in the same way and honestly have a hard time if I just sit down to make myself write one. It usually all jumps at me at once. The middle of the night is the worst, ha ha, because I WILL drag myself out of bed super tired to get it all written down before it “floats away."
Roughstock: Tell us about your most recent album, "Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline." How did it come together? What are two other "must listen" songs for listeners to check out and why do you think they are stand-out tracks?
Victoria Bailey: This record is a big piece of my heart and was created with all of my favorite people and musicians. One of my best friends and mentors, Jeremy Long, produced it, and we spent many nights sipping whiskey and dying laughing and just had a blast bringing the songs we have been playing for years to life. My favorite two songs are “The Beginning,” a wedding gift I wrote for two of my friends who met on the dance floor at one of my shows, and “Honky Tonk Woman,” which is the lead single off the album and the lyrics sum up all of the things I love most - “Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline."
Roughstock: You have a cohesion to your sound that is so organic and natural. How did you settle upon the Victoria Bailey "sound"? For the Roughstock readers who are just meeting you for the first time now, how do you describe your music to people who haven't heard it before?
Victoria Bailey: I honestly feel like it happened very naturally and organically from the records I fell in love with listening to. I often describe my sound as “California country,” greatly inspired by classic country-western sounds and what you’d imagine country music sounding like residing between the ocean and the desert.
Roughstock: How have you been connecting with fans during the pandemic?
Victoria Bailey: Livestreams have been such a beautiful saving grace for musicians. I can’t imagine not having that as an outlet to not only connect with fans but with my friends and family who I have missed greatly during this time. Also, I was really lucky to be able to release a few songs last year besides the album, a Christmas tune and a Bruce Springsteen cover. It made me so happy to stay connected in this way, just by putting out new stuff for people to hear throughout this wild year and hoping it gave them the slightest comfort and light.
Roughstock: What's up next for you?
Victoria Bailey: I am so excited to be releasing new music soon and a music video, and to just get back to touring when we can safely, which feels like very soon! Thanks so much for having me, guys!