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When you look at Baxter’s discography, you can tell that the singer’s artistry and overall sound have transformed to what it is today (Photo provided by SoundCloud).

Artist Spotlight: Rayland Baxter

At the beginning of every fall, it’s imperative to find music that makes you embody the turning of a new season. No option is better than Rayland Baxter. The indie/folk solo act has recently been getting lots of attention as he continues on his most recent tour and for very good reason.

Baxter makes music that perfectly pairs components of rock, folk and funk. Something that has set him apart from other artists that make similar music is his ability to write songs that are so impactful. Baxter never fails to leave a listener wanting to understand the holistic story behind each song. 

At the same time, Baxter creates songs that can groove and make a person dance. The wide array of songs that he brings to his entire discography is untraceable and unique. He is constantly switching between multiple sides of music that cannot be traced to one or the other. Putting his discography in shuffle might have you crying in your car in one instance, then screaming the lyrics in the next. 

This is what truthfully sets Rayland’s music apart from different music in his genre. The versatility he exhibits is unlike any other artist. Songs can range from funky and upbeat songs like “Casanova” and “Strange American Dream,” to slow power ballads about love and loss like “Olivia” and “Willy’s Song.” These songs are a few of many beautiful songs on Baxter’s discography. They are a testament to the singer’s unique style that has been unseen anywhere else. 

At the start of his career, Baxter was definitely more centered on a folk focus that is evident in the rudimentary production, simply a guitar, a voice and minimalistic drums. He even employs steel guitar and banjos in a few of the starting tracks. This isn’t to say artistry wasn’t there, or even production value to say the least, only to reflect on earlier tracks that were more centered on a folk sound. 

His early album “Fishhooks and Feathers” is a primary example of this early sound. When you listen to this album you can hear the folk influence on some of the tracks like “The Mtn. Song.” In this track, Baxter seamlessly incorporates banjo and steel guitar alongside electric guitar licks that could be heard in a modern indie-rock album. 

As Baxter has continued to put out albums, he has adopted more of an indie-rock sound, while still maintaining the folk sound that started him out. His later albums are more inflated in nature, a lot less stripped of sound and relaxed in their production style. This has been a beneficial evolution for Baxter, as his new sound can be easily accepted by an ever-evolving audience.

Though Baxter is still largely “underground,” his album “Wide Awake” has made short work of putting his name out there for audiences who had not previously heard a song by him, or may have but didn’t know who to trace it to.

“Wide Awake” is Baxter’s adventure in rock. Primarily, this album is an adventure in funk and less-so in traditional rock. It sounds beachy, something that can be attributed to a more traditional sounding rock guitar. This switch has expounded upon his artistic expression and allowed him to really dive into a new wave of creativity.

When you look at Baxter’s discography, you can tell that the singer’s artistry and overall sound have transformed to what it is today. Now, Rayland Baxter makes music that resembles indie-folk, but is paired with a vastness of sounds that represent a large spread of genres and styles.

Baxter’s sound is ever-evolving and is constantly new and will continuously do so as he puts out music. The latest addition to his discography comes out Nov. 4, 2022. With it should come new sound exploration and definition from this ever-evolving singer. 

It seems more good will come from this folk/indie/rock artist yet. If you haven’t listened to Baxter yet, it could be just the right time to hop on the train and give his music a try. He’s sure to excite with new, vastly different sounding songs, a welcome addition to an ever-changing discography. 

@eifert_sean26  

se538920@ohio.edu 

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