It’s shaping up to be a banner 2015 for singer/songwriter James Bay. The talented young Englishman makes his full-length debut with “Chaos and the Calm” and seems poised for bigger and better things. Bay’s big break came when a fan uploaded a video of the 23-year-old performing in a pub and the YouTube clip caught the attention of a Republic Records executive.
“That kicked everything off,” Bay acknowledges. “The label flew me over to New York a week later, and I met everybody and ended up signing with them on the spot. It was like they were in that tiny club with me even though they were thousands of miles away.”
With a soulful voice that practically hemorrhages sincerity and emotion, Bay shines on the 12-track, 48-minute release. “Hold Back the River” is my favorite cut, but Bay also hits all the right notes on “If You Ever Want to Be in Love,” “Best Fake Smile,” “Move Together,” “Collide” and “Need the Sun to Break.” Keep your eye on this kid. (Jeffrey Sisk)