Produced by 13-time Grammy winner T Bone Burnett, the Nashville-based artist’s self-titled debut matches his moody noir lyricism with a darkly toned take on country music, a sound that’s stylistically wayward yet deeply grounded in classic songmanship. With Burnett playing guitar on more than half the tracks, the album finds Ledger backed by guitarist/pedal steel player Russell Pahl, guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), drummer Jay Bellerose (Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne), and bassist Dennis Crouch (Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton), threading in elements of acid rock and surf music and baroque ’60s pop to forge a decidedly Californian sound.
Throughout the album, Ledger and Burnett’s immediate chemistry extends to a charmed communion between all the featured musicians. “I love how everyone’s constantly improvising, but without ever getting in anybody else’s way,” Ledger points out. That uninterrupted and possibly transcendent flow is also the desired takeaway for listeners of his debut. “I’d love for people to get into a meditative space when they hear the record, to sit with the songs and really take their time with them,” Ledger says. “I think there’s a value in letting things happen at a much slower pace, especially in our current culture of instant gratification. It’s really not even a conscious decision for me—it’s just how I feel and how I like to do things, so I’m just going to keep going with it.”
“Growing up in Hoover, Alabama, becoming a musician didn’t seem that realistic,” says Bailey Ingle. “The night I stepped onstage with Keith Urban, though, I realized that I didn’t care how unrealistic it was because it’s what I’m meant to do. I learned my true purpose on that stage.”
Ingle’s breakout performance with Urban began a domino effect that would eventually lead the young country star-in-the-making to the remarkable moment she finds herself in today: nineteen years old, living in Nashville, and standing on the precipice of releasing her captivating debut single, “In Love With The Memories.” Recorded in Johnny Cash’s studio with Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools at the helm with Gene Chrisman (Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard) and Dave Roe (Gretchen Peters, Dan Auerbach, Sturgill Simpson), the track is infectious and arresting, blending elements of modern pop and classic country into a wistful, heartfelt, radio-ready gem. While the song flirts with the playful candor of Kacey Musgraves and the soul-baring sincerity of Ashley McBryde, it’s singular in its execution, revealing Ingle to be a subtly sophisticated writer with keen insight that belies her young age. She captures detailed scenes and characters drawn from intimate personal experience, but she also taps into deep veins of universal emotion as she grapples with the turbulence of heartbreak, acceptance, and growth. It’s the music of self-discovery, the soundtrack to a journey we all undertake in the hopes of someday understanding who we are and why we’re here.
“Songwriting gives me a chance to be totally vulnerable,” says Ingle. “With every song I write, I learn more about my true self as both an artist and a human. Music is my way of figuring out who I am.”
Bailey Ingle maybe just discovering herself, but with songwriting this good, it won’t be long before the rest of the world follows suit.