rayLand baxter – Imaginary Man [album review]

by Woody on August 12, 2015

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Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson

Just like Saw Outlaw saved me on a hungover SXSW morning, RayLand Baxter performed the same duties back in 2013. It was up on S. Congress and I was chewing on a beer after breakfast as baxter’s easy-going Americana gently wafted into the crowd. This caused Oz and I to make our way over to the stage and take in the set. I walked over to rayLand after the set, told him he had two new fans and made a note to to add his music to my library.

Imaginary Man sees rayLand take on a clean-cut look and more importantly broaden his brand of Americana. Being a singer-songwriter is a real tough road. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “yeah the new album is good but its really just more of the same. Nothing new or challenging.”

rayLand has handled that task in a wonderful fashion with his sophomore effort. A task made easy by the fact that his warm inviting warble is still the focus. Nashville is rayLand’s hometown and generally regarded as the home of Country music. In recent years, Nashville has undergone a massive change. For better or worse, it has affected the the musical landscape. Maybe that’s rubbed off on rayLand as Imaginary Man introduces synths and strings to give the album a much more lush sound. It comes off as this blend of Americana and indie with the success coming due to his writing and vocals.

Adam Landry handled the production which is always a plus in my book. While the sound of the album originally threw me off, it has continually grown on me to the point where I am reaching for it all the time. Its a great blueprint for other singer-songwriters on how to broaden their sound without leaving your past behind. Kudos to rayLand and everybody involved. Its a gem.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

rayLand is here

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