(Genre: American alternative-country)
For the making of his fourth album If I Were a Butterfly, Nashville’s Rayland Baxter holed up for over a year at a former rubber-band factory turned studio in the Kentucky countryside – a seemingly humble environment that proved to be something of a wonderland.
“I spent that year living in a barn with the squirrels and the birds, on my own most of the time, and I discovered so much about music and how to create it,” said the Tennessee-bred singer/songwriter. “Instead of going into a studio with a producer for two weeks, I just waited for the record to build itself. I’d get up and go outside, see a butterfly and connect that with some impulsive thought I’d had three months ago, and suddenly a song I’d been working on would make sense. That’s how the whole album came to be.”
The album examines loss and existential ruminations on happiness and freedom and was completed in the wake of his father, the legendary Bucky Baxter’s (Bob Dylan’s longtime pedal steel player and member of Steve Earle’s Dukes) passing. His late father appears on the album along with a host of collaborators including Shakey Graves, Zac Cockrell of Alabama Shakes, members of Cage the Elephant, Stella, Rose, Morning Teleportation’s Travis Goodwin, and legendary Motown drummer Miss Bobbye Hall, among many others.
The Nashville eccentric and ever-evolving journeyman’s previous release was Good Mmornin, a tribute to the late Mac Miller. Prior to that he released three full-length studio albums: Wide Awake, Imagainery Man, feathers & fishHooks and the EP ashkeLON.
It’s this wit and songcraft that is so front and center on If I Were A Butterfly, Baxter’s most fully evolved and wisest body of work to date.
“It’s been a weird few years, but I think the big picture is for us to just exist and find love and be loved, and try to see that all the daily bullshit is simply bugs on the windshield,” says Baxter. “I hope that this album makes people feel the way I do whenever I listen to my favourite records, and that it gives them a platform to dream on.”
“Baxter tends to keep his references oblique, working his commentary into the fabric of storytelling that leaves equal space for love songs and humorous vignettes.” – Rolling Stone
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