In celebration of his latest release, Wide Awake (out today via ATO Records), the Nashville-hailing alt-country star Rayland Baxter took the stage at World Cafe Live for Free At Noon. A cap pulled down over matted blonde hair, gripping a white hollow body guitar, he bounced lightly on his knees with skittish energy.
Baxter was backed by a five-piece band, including Philadelphians Nick Bockrath and Barney Cortez, and the chemistry between the band members was visible as they communicated silently through nods and physical cues, delivering an engaging and sound-tight set. As the crowd swarmed forward, they opened with “Strange American Dream,” a brightly optimistic tune with trailing piano riffs and an overt Southern twang. “Amelia Baker,” was contemplative and full of romantic longing, spliced with rambling solos.
To introduce the starry, Lennon-esque “79 Revolvers,” Baxter recounted an anecdote in which he stopped at a liquor store in Kentucky and had an eerie exchange with older man who told him, “I got 79 guns in my basement, one for each of my ex-wives.” The exaggerated country drawl drew a wave of laughter from the crowd. The blazing finale, “Casanova,” featured the appearance of a sitar, again calling back to the Beatles era. Rayland Baxter will play again at World Cafe Live tomorrow night; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen back to the #FreeAtNoon performance and check out a gallery of photos below.
- Strange American Dream
- Amelia Baker
- Hey LaRocco
- 79 Revolver
- Mr. Rodriquez
- Yellow Eyes