KB Bayley – Little Thunderstorms

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Something special can often happen once a sideman moves centre stage and Little Thunderstorms is evidence of KB Bayley’s credentials as a fine solo performer in his own right, whose gentle songs come at a time when little thunderstorms are the least of our worries.  As we continue to weather our own storms of varying strengths, the UK-based singer songwriter delivers nine originals, together with a Jeffrey Foucault song and an instrumental version of the traditional “Wayfaring Stranger”, utilising the dobro, lap steel, acoustic and cigar box guitar, along with an upright piano.  Though credited as a solo album, Claudia Stark’s contributions come over more as duets than mere backing vocals.  “Cold Rain” for example, which effectively invites us in, with its two soothing voices, perfectly exemplifies this notion.  Elsewhere, the noted songwriter Ben Glover (Gretchen Peters, Mary Gauthier, Kim Richey) joins KB on “Blood Red Lullaby”, providing another empathetic voice for the song’s chorus.   Despite Tom Waits being a huge influence, there’s little evidence of this in KB’s smooth delivery, though “Night Dogs” could easily be an outtake from Nighthawks at the Diner, with its late night lounge jazz feel.  Closing with Jeffrey Faucault’s ode to songwriting and the songwriter, the short but sweet “Cheap Suit” completes a rather enchanting album and once again, a lockdown album with a credible feel of close collaboration, something musicians are getting pretty good at these days.