Posts Tagged ‘Sitting With Sounds and Listening for Ghosts’


It was just three months ago we saw the video to Grandma’s Room And Trains In The Distance, the stunning single from Sun Riah. Since then M.Bailey Stephenson, the songwriter behind the pseudonym, has released her debut album, Sitting with Sounds and Listening for Ghosts, moved the small distance of 1000 miles from Oklahoma to Tuscon and started a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology. It would be fair to say it’s been a pretty productive summer.

Focusing on Bailey’s musical achievements, Sitting With Sounds and Listening for Ghosts, is a remarkable piece of work. Built around the same twin pillars that underpin most of her songwriting, namely her remarkable vocal and the harp, it is the most coherent album she has ever produced. It is an album of memories, not of a particular event or even a particular person, but of a house. It was the house where her grandmother was born and lived her entire life. The record focuses on different setting in and around the house; the kitchen, papa’s workshop, the middle room where her grandmother was born. Viewing these places, Bailey takes us on a journey, examining families, relationships, and how entwined all those ideas are with the idea of place.


Musically, Sitting With Sounds and Listening for Ghosts is a masterclass in the use of space within a recording. It’s not that it’s a simple record, or even a particularly minimal one, it’s just that no note is ever wasted. Each pluck of harp, stunning vocal inflexion and wave of warm electronic backing seems to have been perfectly chosen for maximum emotional impact. Put simply, Sitting With Sounds and Listening for Ghosts is just one of the year’s most impressive releases.

“Sitting with Sounds and Listening for Ghosts” will be released via Keeled Scales on July 21st, 2017 on CD, cassette, and digital download.