Wide Awake

Wide Awake

by Rayland BaxterRayland Baxter


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Tennessee native Rayland Baxter's songs weave a path between country, folk, classic singer/songwriter, straight-ahead rock, and a kind of Nilsson-ian/Beatlesque pop. A scion of Nashville (his father is notable pedal steel man Bucky Baxter), the influence of Music City has played a consistent role throughout his life and career, particularly on the rustic roots pop of his 2012 debut, Feathers & Fishhooks, as well as on his more robust, rock-oriented follow-up, 2015's Imaginary Man. With Wide Awake, Baxter's third LP, he offers a personal and social statement that manages to transcend his home turf while remaining uniquely American. Following a bout of heavy touring, the wayward singer rented an abandoned rubber-band factory in Kentucky in late 2016 and devoted himself to a solitary period of intense writing and reflection. Rather than leaving his hermitage with the kind of introspective stripped-down acoustic record that might be expected, he instead fled to the West Coast to make a wily rock & roll album that wryly philosophizes about human behavior and the chaotic nature of Trump-era America. With a crack band led by the album's producer, Butch Walker (Weezer, P!nk), Wide Awake is anchored by the excellent "Strange American Dream," an expansive, tightly crafted yet easygoing rock anthem that asks the question "How did we get here?" With its sweet tone and cutting gun-control theme, another standout, "79 Shiny Revolvers," takes a similar tack, proving Baxter has a solid command of this kind of social-statement pop. Other highlights include "Angeline," "Hey Larocco," and the lovely acoustic ballad "Without Me," a trio of strong tracks that blend the entanglements and emotions of relationships with a distant undercurrent of unease. With his laid-back charm, wit, and earthy sincerity, Baxter has shown his acumen for quality songcraft before, but on Wide Awake, he ties it up in one wholly engaging package.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/13/2018
Label: Ato Records
UPC: 0880882329921
catalogNumber: 823299
Rank: 84455

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rayland Baxter   Primary Artist,Guitar
Lloyd Green   Pedal Steel Guitar
Bobbye Hall   Percussion
Bucky Baxter   Pedal Steel Guitar
Butch Walker   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Vocals
Aaron Embry   Keyboards,Vocals
Rob Moose   Strings
Emily Crawford   Vocals
Eric Slick   Drums
Nick Bockrath   Guitar,Vocals
Lennon Stella   Vocals
Katie Schecter   Vocals
Misa Arriaga   Vocals
Ryan A. Keith   Vocals

Technical Credits

Butch Walker   Producer,Engineer
Robin C. Hendrickson   Layout
Rob Moose   String Arrangements
Shervin Lainez   Cover Photo,Inside Photo
Nick Bockrath   Composer
Rayland Baxter   Composer,Liner Notes,Layout
Todd Stopera   Engineer
Billy Swayze   Back Cover Photo
Ryan A. Keith   Engineer
Betsy Littrell   Layout

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