EP Review: Bailey Bryan’s ‘So Far’

Bailey Bryan introduced herself to the music world earlier this year with her infectious debut single “Own It” where she sings of embracing her quirks, making her own rules and being “such a beautiful mess.” The singer/songwriter will release her debut EP on Friday (April 14) and the five-track compilation showcases Bryan’s versatility and ability to pen relatable songs that instantly grab the listener’s attention.

In December, Bryan was named an Artist of Tomorrow by Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and the Recording Academy. Her EP So Far further demonstrates the 18-year-old’s talents and exemplifies why she’s one country act to keep on the radar. Bryan co-wrote each of the five songs on the release and as a result, pulls the listener into her life.

The vulnerable piano ballad “Scars,” co-written by Bryan, Tom Douglas and producer Dennis Matkosky, details Bryan’s difficulty dealing with a terrible scar left on her back after undergoing corrective surgery from scoliosis. A profound song, Bryan sings of how she realizes the scar is “not a stain on my complexion but a beautiful imperfection… we wouldn’t be who we are without our scars.”

Meanwhile, heart-breaker “Hard Drive Home” also strikes a chord. Hand-clapped rhythms and Bryan’s emotional vocals detail the hurt felt while driving away from someone she loves. “These tears in my eyes, looks like it’s going to be a hard drive home,” she sings. Despite wanting to turn the car around she knows she must move on. The decision to keep driving isn’t any less difficult though as her vocals portray the second guessing everyone goes through at the end of a relationship. “Life Goes On” follows the story line as Bryan reassures herself and the listener, “sooner or later it’ll turn around, even when it’s right, even when it’s wrong life goes on.”

While Bryan leaves a piece of her heart on every song throughout So Far, the most memorable track is EP closer “Used To.” A stripped down song featuring her smoky vocals at the forefront, “Used To” has Bryan struggling with the reality of pursuing her dream of a music career in Tennessee far away from her home and family in Sequim, Wash. “What I wouldn’t give for that five minute drive down to the beach / I’m still getting used to the way it rains in Tennessee,” she sings. “I couldn’t wait to go / Now I know what I know and I can’t wait to go back home.”

So Far is a solid introduction to who Bailey Bryan is as an artist and songwriter. An empowering female, as she brings listeners into her life through her music she in turn has the listener reflecting on his or her own life within the heartfelt lyrics. The mark of a great artist, this is just the beginning for Bryan.