Rayland Dexter | Skyway Man
About Rayland Baxter
Thoreau had Walden Pond. Kerouac had Big Sur. Rayland Baxter? He had an old rubber band factory in Franklin, Kentucky, and it suited him just fine. As one of the hardest-touring artists on the road today, Baxter’s spent most of his professional life in transit, but ever since he was a kid, he dreamed of creative seclusion someplace lonely and isolated, somewhere he could sit still and devote his every waking hour to writing without interruption or distraction. When the opportunity finally presented itself in late 2016, the Nashville native pounced, relocating to factory-turned-studio Thunder Sound for three full months of intensive soul searching and obsessive songwriting. By the time he emerged, he’d penned more than 50 tunes and crafted a detailed blueprint for his spectacular new album, ‘Wide Awake.’
Deftly produced by Butch Walker, the record infuses Baxter’s easygoing, soulful sound with British Invasion melodies and rock and roll swagger, marrying lean, muscular songwriting with adventurous, inventive arrangements. It’s a cutting, insightful collection, one that takes a sardonic view the violence, greed, and division that seem to define the modern American landscape. Rather than point a finger, though, the music holds up a mirror, offering a sober reflection of the times thoughtfully bundled in bright, infectious hooks. There’s no judgment here, only keen observation, and the album’s broad, wide-angle musings often come bundled inside deeply personal memories.
About Skyway Man
Seen Comin’ From a Mighty Eye is the follow-up to singer-songwriter-producer James Wallace’s More Strange News From Another Star. It’s a stew of B-movie sci-fi, cosmic boogie and psychedelic American music: an immersive, fully realized song cycle with a cinematic flair. Wallace has travelled a few skyways in his day. He brings this new batch of songs, intertwined by a fascination with UFO religion along for his debut outing as Skyway Man, a name he kept running across again and again. Was it the trickster of mythology, the soul of some long missing astronaut, or an old storyteller from another planet trying to get through? The answer is unclear, but the result is a nice slice of musical imagination. Recorded between Nashville and his hometown of Richmond, VA, the album features the Spacebomb house rhythm section of Pinson Chanselle & Cameron Ralston, who also provided horn arrangements, and Matthew E. White in a slide guitar cameo appearance. Seen Comin’ From a Mighty Eye offers the kind of sounds you would want on the radio for a first or last kiss, the songs playing in the bar scene from some forgotten Spielberg adventure, a soundtrack for the later (not quite latter) days of earth. Music for driving along the skyway, thank god the skyway is made of music anyway.
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