News Rock 08/05/2018

Rayland Baxter Holds A Mirror To Humanity On New Album 'Wide Awake' (July 13/ATO), Produced By Butch Walker

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Rayland Baxter's new album is a dream realized. Since he first started writing music, this roving rock 'n' roll philosopher dreamed of a space where he could devote every waking hour to creating. The hard-touring musician finally found it in the form of an abandoned rubber band factory in Franklin, KY, where he covered the windows, threw a mattress on the floor, and with guitar and piano in tow, spent three straight months writing. At night he would sit and listen to the sounds around him: coyotes, the howling wind, the faint prattle of the nightly TV news. The result of this isolation quest is 'Wide Awake' (July 13/ATO Records), a ten-song collection that celebrates the best aspects of humanity and grasps at understanding the worst.

"This is an album about decision making," Baxter explains. "It's about being a human at the crossroads. Do I do good or do I do evil? Do I lie or do I tell the truth? Am I going to be happy or am I going to be sad? All of these questions and 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 (Weezer, Pink, Pete Yorn) and features Walker himself on bass, Cage the Elephant's Nick Bockrath on guitar, Dr. Dog's Erick Slick on drums, and piano wizard Aaron Embry (Elliott Smith, Brian Eno) on keys. Rayland's father Bucky Baxter contributes pedal steel, as does original Nashville Cat Lloyd Green.

'Wide Awake' runs the gamut from intensely personal to cutting social satire. On lead single "Casanova," Rayland imagines student debt as a greedy girlfriend, admitting, "I got a real bad feeling ima let her down / got a hole in my pocket and I'm running around." Album opener "Strange American Dream" was written around the time of the 2016 election and takes a hard look at the country's values, while "79 Shiny Revolvers" skewers our national fixation with guns.

Rayland has toured with Kacey Musgraves, Jason Isbell, The Lumineers and more, and has multiple songs with over 10 million plays on Spotify. He wrote and performed on Shakey Graves' new album, is opening some of the shows on his upcoming tour, and will perform with him at Red Rocks in August. He has also played festivals like Bonnaroo and Newport Folk. Stereogum praised his 2015 album 'Imaginary Man' as "an impeccable breakout" while NPR hailed its lead single as "close to perfect."
Pre-order 'Wide Awake' on all platforms here:

Strange American Dream
79 Shiny Revolvers
Amelia Baker
Without Me
Hey Larocco
Sandra Monica
Everything To Me
Let It All Go, Man
2-Jun- Wellston, MI - Camp Greensky

12-Jul- Washington, DC - Union Stage
13-Jul- New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
14-Jul- Philadelphia, PA - World Café Live
15-Jul- Richmond, VA - Broadberry
18-Jul- Nashville, TN - Basement East
20-Jul- Birmingham, AL - Saturn
21-Jul- Atlanta, GA - Terminal West
24-Jul- Toronto, ON - Adelaide Hall
25-Jul- Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
26-Jul- Detroit, MI - Otus Supply
27-Jul- Grand Rapids, MI - The Stache
28-Jul- Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
1-Aug- Indianapolis, IN - Hifi
2-Aug- Davenport, IA - Triple Crown Whiskey Bar
3-Aug- St. Louis, MO - Delmar Hall
4-Aug- Lawrence, KS - Bottleneck
5-Aug- Omaha, NE - Slowdown
9-Aug- Denver, CO - Bluebird
24-Aug- Salt Lake City, UT - Red Butte Garden w/ Shakey Graves
25-Aug- Missoula, MT - Big Sky Amphitheatre w/ Shakey Graves
26-Aug- Spokane, WA - Knitting Factory w/ Shakey Graves
27-Aug- Spokane, WA - Knitting Factory w/ Shakey Graves
28-Aug- Boise, ID - Knitting Factory w/ Shakey Graves
30-Aug- Morrison, CO - Red Rocks w/ Shakey Graves
5-Sep- Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret
6-Sep- Bellingham, WA - Wild Buffalo
7-Sep- Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern
9-Sep- Portland, OR - Doug Fir
14-Sep- San Diego, CA - Belly Up
15-Sep- Los Angeles, CA - Moroccan Lounge
16-Sep- Templeton, CA - Whale Rock Festival
20-Sep- Crystal Bay, NV - Red Room at Crystal Bay
21-Sep- Santa Cruz, CA - Catalyst
23-Sep- Sonoma, CA - Harvest Music Festival
28-Sep- Roseland, VA - Devil's Backbone Hoopla
30-Sep- Asbury Park, NJ - Sea Hear Now Festival

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