Victoria Bailey's "Skid Row" Exemplifies the Bakersfield Sound (premiere + interview)
Victoria Bailey emerges with "Skid Row", a country romp that's an ode to an LA honky-tonk and the classic California Bakersfield sound.
Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline is a title perfectly indicative of what Victoria Bailey sets out to accomplish with the upcoming album. She's classic country, through and through. Brought up by her father's rock 'n' roll drum sessions and her mother's folk songbooks, Bailey's gravitated towards somewhere in-between with her rollicking, narrative-driven sound. The album's second single release prior to its 18 September release, "Skid Row" acts as an ode to a LA honky tonk. High-flying fiddle, jangly piano, harmonica, pedal steel, and more paint a perfectly pleasing throwback performance from the artist, her honey-toned vocals acting as the centerpiece.
Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline is available to pre-save now.
In anticipation of the PopMatters premiere of "Skid Row", Victoria Bailey engaged in an interview that dives into the song and its background.
What's the story behind this song? Why did you write it?
This song is my ode to the country music legends and history that come from Bakersfield, California. This movement is known as "The Bakersfield Sound". Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, and many more really carved a path for country music here in California. I also give a nod to the one honky-tonk bar in Los Angeles; it's called the Escondite. This is our little slice of country heaven that rests right in the middle of "Skid Row".
You've spent your whole life in Southern California. How do you feel your geography tied to that region informs your music? What made you want to make classic country music?
I get asked a lot when I play shows around here how I ended up playing country music from growing up in Huntington Beach. I think my upbringing has a lot to do with that, due to the folk records my parents always had playing in our home. But also, the places and people I sing about in this song have a lot to do with that as well. "California country" is kind of embedded here, and in me as an artist. I flew to Nashville on my own when I was pretty young and just soaked it all in for a little less than a month. This is where I discovered why I love country music and songwriting. I have a distinct memory of seeing Emmylou's and Dolly's vinyl records for the first time and falling in love with everything they do, and I wanted to emulate the beautiful way they write and sing their stories.
What is your favorite lyric line from this song? Why is it your favorite?
There is a line in the song, "And all this time you thought you had to be from the South, to get a little respect for your country sound," which kind of sums up the song as a whole, and my high hopes of keeping the classic country sound alive here.
Was this a song that came together easily, or did it take some work to get it just right?
This was one of the ones that just sort of poured out. It was easy to write about such a special time in history for music, and the struggles of trying to find a path for this kind of music living in Orange County today. I was so inspired by a few of my mentors around here that have so much knowledge of the Bakersfield sound. So it was so fun to dive deeper into that and to read those stories and highlight a few of my favorite parts about being a country artist.
Is there anything in particular about this song specifically that makes it resonate with you?
It's honestly just a really fun song for me to perform with my band. There are a few lines in the song that gets people pumped and dancing.
What are you most excited about concerning the album coming out soon?
I've had these songs and this album ready for a while now, and I am just so excited and proud to share it. This is my first full-length country album. I hope the stories and its classic country sound resonate well with people, and I'm just super excited to get on the road and share them with new faces.
Photo: Stefanie Vinsel Johnson / Courtesy of the artist