Bailen (photo by Shervin Lainez, PR)
Thrilled to Be Here
Vocal harmonies have long been a staple of popular music. While the New York City trio of BAILEN may have a leg up with their familial connection, that doesn’t make the blending of their voices any less impressive.
The Bailens — twin brothers David and Daniel and their sister Julia — have been playing music for as long as they can remember. Thanks to their classically-trained parents, Eliot Bailen and Susan Rotholz, music is very much ingrained in the siblings' DNA, evident at the band's recent show at the Loft at City Winery for WFUV Marquee members and their first FUV Live session back in April. The brothers wrote their first song together at the age of five — I’m still hoping for a studio version of that first composition, “Fire in the Kitchen,” but I digress.
Although the Bailens share an obvious bond, they are all unique individuals with distinct personalities. This made the process of choosing a producer for their debut album, Thrilled to Be Here, that much trickier. After some discussion, the trio headed to Los Angeles to work with famed producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, the War on Drugs). It was Congleton who got the band to think on a larger scale, adding elements to give the songs a grander feel. This included strings provided by the Bailen parents' chamber group, recorded in their living room in New York City. Rotholz also plays flute on the album.
BAILEN clearly has spend an infinite amount of time absorbing music of all kinds. Whether it was their mother and father's music collection, time spent singing in the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Choir, or the hundreds of shows that the three played before ever releasing Thrilled to Be Here, Julia, David and Daniel have taken all of these experiences and learned at every turn.
“I Was Wrong,” the first single from the album, deals with the difficulty in admitting mistakes or seeing another person’s side in a discussion. Live favorite “Not Gonna Take Me” feverishly rolls and stomps while the urgent “Your Love is All I Know” has a vivid Fleetwood Mac vibe.
Make no mistake, though. It all is BAILEN. Seeing them live is an education in the power of harmony, the brilliance of three highly-skilled musicians, and the payoff of countless hours of practice. Thrilled to Be Here does an excellent job of capturing the spirit and energy of their gigs, showcasing their intuitive vocal magic and potent musicianship. It also serves as a strong starting point to a career that should grow and flourish in the years to come.
Listen to a brand new FUV Live concert from BAILEN live from The Loft at City Winery on Monday, May 27, at 7 p.m. during FUV's Summer Feastival on 90.7FM and streaming online.