Album Review: Bailey Zimmerman - “Leave The Light On”

Featuring the hits “Fall In Love” and “Leave The Light On,” Bailey Zimmerman’s debut full-length suggests the arrival of both a star and the leader of a new stylistic brand of the country music tree.

With just eight songs on his debut project Leave The Light On, Bailey Zimmerman makes a case for why he’s one of the most-popular new artists in 2022. “Fall In Love” is the song which kicked off Zimmerman’s success, first via TikTok and then with streaming, country radio and beyond. It’s a song that’s likeable enough showcasing a strong songwriting component to Zimmerman’s music matched to his grit-filled vocals. The story in the song about a guy who fell in love with the wrong girl, someone who was more interested in “having fun” than a relationship. It’s a strong opening salvo as a single but it enters this project at #7 and that is completely by design (as follow-up single “Rock And A Hard Place” is the 8th placed track on Leave The Light On and that Means you get five full songs (and a spoken word intro to the project) before the hits come through the recording.

“Never Leave” opens the project and it tells the story of a guy who is pleading on his girlfriend to fight through the tough stretches that invariably come through relationships. He promises he’ll always fight for the relationship and asks her to do the same. “Waiting” features strong 90s styled instrumentation backing up Zimmerman as he emotively sings about waiting for his girl to call him and tell him that she’s gonna come back to him to be with him forever. The fiddle and mandolins in the musical bed help set the melancholic mode of the song. “House On Fire” is one hell of a moody song with Bailey Zimmerman blending a bit of Americana-like troubadour style storytelling to his mainstream brand of country music.

“From The Fall” is another slice of midtempo storytelling from Bailey Zimmerman. If I was to coin a term for his brand of country music it would be Modern Emo Country Music as this record is all about emotional ups and downs found in and out of relationships. Bailey Zimmerman’s emotional journey hits a high point on potential radio smash “Trainwreck” as he sings about the woman who uses him for her needs on the reg only to leave him the next day. This one is written with frequent collaborators Austin Shawn and Gavin Lucas while Sergio Sanchez and country superstar Morgan Wallen joined in on the collaborative process as well. The Album closes up shop with the atmospheric “Where It Ends” and it feels like these eight songs all serve like a diary to a broken heart and more than that, Leave The Light On is the first work in what feels like an important new artist with the kind of artistry that blends the indie singer/songwriter styling of fellow breakout star Zach Bryan with the kind of mainstream country storytelling that suggests that country music is in another huge growth window where important artists have arrived to take the genre to new and exciting heights, something Leave The Light On definitely does.