Free at Noon Flashback: Bailen makes a name for family bands at World Cafe Live

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Bailen | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

While the phrase “family band” may conjure images of the Trapp Family Singers or your most cringeworthy piano recital, Bailen, a sibling trio from NYC, is here to reclaim the genre. The group is comprised of Julia (vocal/guitar), Daniel (vocals/bass), and David (vocals/drums) Bailen, whose classically trained parents raised them on a musical diet of Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King. The three siblings immersed themselves in their parents record collections which has led them, twenty years later, to release their first album, Thrilled To Be Here, with the help of Grammy-award winning producer John Congleton (St.Vincent, War on Drugs).

Bailen gave us a taste of their upcoming album at today’s Free at Noon concert. Their songs ranged from heartbreaking ballads like “Rose Leaves” to hopeful love anthems like “Something Tells Me.” Their sound can be loosely defined as indie rock with folk rock charm as it is characterized by tight vocal harmonies and sharp dynamic contrast. Think The Staves meets The Lone Bellow. It’s obvious that Bailen pays close attention to detail when writing their songs, and every moment banks on a unique musical cohesion. While the band may seem in total agreement on stage, Daniel let the audience know that it’s not always the case. “We’re siblings,” he commented mid-set, “which means we fight a lot.” Their song, “I Was Wrong,” reflects on this. “Sometimes you just have to admit you were wrong,” said Julia.

Bailen closed with an intimate number, “25 For The Last Time.” It’s a song about trying to find your path in life and accepting that no one really “has it all figured out.” The Bailen sibling’s harmonies truly shined in this one as they proved that even a family band can rock as hard as anyone else. Before leaving the stage, Julia, Daniel, and David linked arms and bowed together. It was a sweet shoutout to those of us who formed bands with our brothers and sisters as kids and turned our living rooms into concert halls. Bailen may have made it to the big stage, but they haven’t forgotten where they came from.

Thrilled to Be Here will be released on April 26, 2019. Bailen will return to Philadelphia to perform at the World Cafe Live Upstairs with Racehl Andie on Saturday, April 6 at 8 p.m.; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

 

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