Liam Bailey is an excellent guitar player, but he’s equally adept on mandolin, fiddle, or whatever else he wants to pick up and play on Flesh & Armor, a heady mixture of bluegrass, pop, and American roots music. There is an unmistakable rawness and realness on Bailey’s album, as he touches thoughtfully on the mystery of life and even hints at religions elements. But what makes this record so powerful is the stripped-down production, as Bailey and four additional musicians recorded the album in a mere two days, with only a handful of electric guitar and vocal overdubs afterwards. Bailey runs the gamut, from slow, emotive tearjerkers (“Handful of Gold”), to stomping with bluesy grooves (“A Castle for a Home”). Flesh & Armor sports only a handful of guitar solos, but Bailey nails them with pizzazz and an unassuming technical prowess.( Mad River Records).
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