Bay Bryan grew up in Golden, Colorado and led a nomadic lifestyle before the world of music and theatre before being drawn to Scotland to study at Glasgow’s renowned Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), which has shaped Bay’s future. A multi-talented performer and creative, Bay is as comfortable in their drag persona of Queen Bayard as they are in creating ornate, ethereal alt.folk vignettes.
2021 was a breakout year for Bay with the successful release of singles ‘Let Go’ and ‘Sticky Shadows’, and now, with the release ‘Sweet Joan’ tomorrow, that audience is sure to widen.
The craftsmanship throughout this single is a joy to hear. On Sweet Joan, the viola and clarinet provide a rich contemporary backdrop to Bay’s ethereal vocals. In contrast, the trotting percussion provides an almost playful edge, capturing an artist absorbed in the joy of the moment. The vocal multi-tracking towards the end is exquisite, highlighting Bay’s enticing vocal qualities that call to mind Sam Lee, Cosmo Sheldrake and The Magic Lantern, all of whom also have an innate gift of colouring their music through meticulous and intricate twists that draw the listener back for repeat listens.
The song follows the story of a sorceress who risks her own life to save her mortal lover Joan from a mysterious and magical illness.
They tell us:
Nestled in an open clearing enclosed by towering pine trees, stands a lonesome cabin in the middle of the woody mountains of Colorado. That’s the magical setting where I started to write Sweet Joan. First, the chords came, and with them this sense of a ticking clock. From there, the story began to emerge as if from thin air –a story centred around two strong women: a sorceress (Evelyn) and her mortal lover Joan, whose lives have long been spent happily together, in an isolated setting not too dissimilar from the one I found myself in.
When we enter the story, however, we know nothing of their normal lives together. All we know is that something is amiss. Joan has fallen under a mysterious and magical illness, and our sorceress Evelyn has already exhausted her own magical capacity. She is left desperate, with only one option left: to call on the gods for their aid. She is well aware that this could cost her her own life…
I love an act of self-sacrifice in a story. I will replay it in my head, on a loop, so that I may relish in the drama from all angles, like savouring all the flavours of a feast. And then I don’t really want to be told what happens next —I would rather be left wondering.
The track is taken from Bay’s upcoming debut concept album, The Meadow, due for release in 2023. Bay has performed at Philly Fringe, Minneapolis Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as a number of Pride festivals across the UK. Illustrating their diverse creativity, Bay co-composed the songs for “The Not So Ugly Sisters,” named in The Guardian‘s 25 best Christmas shows of 2021, and scored the music to the short film “Egg Party”, winning the audience choice award at Cinequest Film Festival (2021). Sweet Joan will be one of a flurry of releases over the course of 2022 as Bay sets his sights on sharing his art with music lovers far and wide.
Sweet Joan is out on 22nd April 2022 via Ginger Records. Pre-Save:
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