Art of Live Festival 

Songwriter Rayland Baxter is a dreamer, a very fine one, as a matter of fact. He is one of a misty-eyed gentlefolk seeking prosperity in a soul, in the soul. He’s a wanderer of the highest regard, with hazy matter, loosely based on his waking hours, conditions, remarks and interactions, all that he finds suitable to chronicle in his ledger and diary. He made a record entitled “Feathers & Fishhooks,” three years ago and the men, or man, that he introduced us to were of the fluttery variety. They found that they were utterly consumed by their wanderings, by the ifs, the white noise and the unseen phantoms whispering it all breathy and hot into their ears. Baxter, who calls Nashville home, is a keen observer not just of a non-thing thing like the human condition, but more so an observer of how he reacts to that non-thing thing called the human condition and just how people relate to one another. He appreciates the nuances of those who fail one another, or those who mean to let each other down. He appreciates even more those who intend to be sweet, those who will remain, holding a hand warm or cold and falling into surreal rhythm together. “Imaginary Man,” his second long-player, is an exquisite new exploration of the disorienting qualities of real life and what they drive us to conjure in our sleep, when we’re lucky enough to get it, when we allow our days to be through. It’s a mellow current of open water, touching muddy banks, carving out a sensation of desire and great hunger. People must be more. He must be more, better and kinder. Love must touch more and be more visible. People need people and they need beauty and mercy in abundance. It all needs to be there and Baxter finds this tumbling course a fascinating one.

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