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Rayland Baxter

Rayland Baxter 1 Photo

Songwriter Rayland Baxter is a dreamer, a very fine one, as a matter of fact. Heis one of a misty-eyed gentlefolk seeking prosperity in a soul, in the soul. He’s a

wanderer of the highest regard, with hazy matter, loosely based on his wakinghours, conditions, remarks and interactions, all that he finds suitable to chronicle

in his ledger and diary. He made a record entitled “Feathers & Fishhooks,” three

years ago and the men, or man, that he introduced us to were of the flutteryvariety. They found that they were utterly consumed by their wanderings, by theifs, the white noise and the unseen phantoms whispering it all breathy and hotinto their ears.

Baxter, who calls Nashville home, is a keen observer not just of a non-thing thinglike the human condition, but more so an observer of how he reacts to that non-thing thing called the human condition and just how people relate to one another.He appreciates the nuances of those who fail one another, or those who mean tolet each other down. He appreciates even more those who intend to be sweet,those who will remain, holding a hand warm or cold and falling into surrealrhythm together. “Imaginary Man,” his second long-player, is an exquisite newexploration of the disorienting qualities of real life and what they drive us to

conjure in our sleep, when we’re lucky enough to get it, when we allow our daysto be through. It’s a mellow current of open water, touching muddy banks,

carving out a sensation of desire and great hunger. People must be more. Hemust be more, better and kinder. Love must touch more and be more visible.People need people and they need beauty and mercy in abundance. It all needsto be there and Baxter finds this tumbling course a fascinating one.

“I see people abuse the world. There’s lots of evil out there, but we’re given thegift of life to live on this beautiful world. We’re all fucked, but we’re all winning in

the end,” he says.

“Imaginary Man” gives us a portrait of a man, via characters, whose

hallucinations are wishful and nearly productive, almost productive. They hopefor guidance. They might even pray. They are looking for shared breaths, for a

togetherness that they’re missing, or that they once had and lost. They fear thatthey’ve been better people in the past, but that they can redeem themselves.Baxter places common uncertainties into bodies who itch with them. They levitatewith them and turn them over in their hands, working them out with a radiantwarmth, tripping happily into new wrinkles of life and into other lives not their

own, all the while still recognizing that they’ve been taking advice and medicine

from roosters, poets and the nighttime spirit of Rodriguez, the tour guide of adilapidated Detroit. These are love songs to the foggy myths and the open endsof every one of us. They’re meant to speak to us like the sirens do and they’re

bound to light us on fire, or break our damned hearts.

 

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