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Rayland Baxter at Otus Supply, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Rayland Baxter comes by music naturally; His father is famed Nashville multi-instrumentalist William “Bucky” Baxter, who’s worked with Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams, R.E.M. and many more.

But the younger Baxter is clearly making his own mark as well.

Since 2010, when Caitlin Rose recruited him to play on one of her songs, Baxter has three solo albums -- the latest of which, “Wide Awake,” came out earlier this month. The evocative singer-songwriter is building his story as a road warrior, too, still feeling like he’s at the start of what he hopes will be a lengthy career...

• “Wide Awake” was culled from a prolific writing period for Baxter, “upwards of 50 songs he created mostly during a session in an isolated cabin he found in Kentucky. “I just got on a roll,” he says by phone. “The place I found was free, so I just went and that was it. I was just riding a wave. I wasn’t waking up with plans every day; I was just writing and seeing what came out.”

• There’s a topical nature to some of the songs on “Wide Awake,” which Baxter also credits to his surroundings. “There was a kitchen that was a 50 feet away from the room where I was writing, and in the kitchen there was a TV that was always on a news channel. I never saw a remote and never knew how to change it, so I just never touched it. I was just hearing the news; It would come to my ears and would swim around in my head and spit out of my hands. That’s where those songs came from.”

• Produced by pop hitmaker Butch Walker, “Wide Awake” also has a broader sound than its predecessors, adding Beatles-style rock and other flavors to Baxter’s usual rootsy approach. “I told (Walker) what I was looking for sonically. I wrote on a sheet of paper, like, 30 different albums that I liked and that we could take and put in a melting pot and swish around. I listen to a lot of hip-hop and really like the groove in that and how the rappers vocalist percussively. I listen to a bunch of Leonard Cohen and Elliot Smith and John Lennon -- a lot of different stuff. And Butch took that and chewed it up and made it work on (the album).”

If You Go:

• Rayland Baxter

• 7 p.m. Thursday, July 26.

• Otus Supply, 345 E. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale.

• Tickets are $15 advance, $17 at the door.

• Call 248-291-6160 or visit otussupply.com.

Web Site: www.otussupply.com

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