Monday, 9 July 2018

Rayland Baxter 'Wide Awake'

Out on 13th July from ATO Records, the new album from Rayland Baxter Wide Awake

Following on from the positive word of mouth of recent video and radio hits, 'Casanova' and 'Strange American Dream', Baxter has realised a dream in the production of his third studio album.

The roving rock and roll philosopher has dreamed of produced an album very much of the space in which it has its genesis. The hard-touring led the musician to slow down and find a quiet place for his work, he found in an abandoned rubber band factory in Franklin, Kentucky where he covered the windows, threw a mattress on the floor and with just a guitar and a piano he spent three months writing in the wilderness so to speak.

At night, Baxter would listen to the sounds of America from howling coyotes and the harsh wind with only the endless cycle of TV news for comfort.

The result is a collection of songs that speaks on the isolation of the individual in the vast United States but yet celebrates the best of humanity despite the worst being spoken of at length in the media.

Following in the footsteps of contemporaries, Ezra Furman and Jim James, who have capitalised on the traumatic presidency of a Trump administration where the needs of big business are being heard above those of the masses; Baxter explains, 'This is an album about decision making. It's about being a human at a crossroads. All of these emotions are things I see in myself, and they're the same things I see in everyone else no matter where I go'.

Wide Awake was produced by Butch Walker and features Walker himself on bass; and the production on this album is first rate elevating what must have been scratchy demos and ideas that Baxter had during his weeks of loneliness to raise them up to greater American staples of rock and Americana; songs that speak to the uniqueness of the American experience - one man can make a difference for sure, but one man perhaps has to make himself heard firstly.

Baxter is going the right way about it, creating music that is both accessible and pleasing despite its angry subtext brimming below the sometimes shiny exterior.

Wide Awake is out from ATO Records on 13th July.

My thanks to One Beat PR for the review opportunity.

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