Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/7/2016 (1359 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
LET’S just get this out of the way now: Nashville singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter is a must-see artist at this year’s Winnipeg Folk Festival.
This is his first time visiting the folk fest, and though he had only taken his first steps onto the site mere minutes before sitting down with the Free Press, he was happy to vocalize his initial thoughts.
"I just walked in but it looks amazing," he said. "I was just in Sweden for a couple weeks touring around and it looks a lot like this... when I walked around the corner [snaps fingers], I thought I was in Sweden."
Baxter is the type of guy who just says whatever comes to mind; when he walked onto main stage, for example, his opening line was, "I lost my virginity to a Canadian woman when I was 15, so thank you." His songs, however, are much the opposite. The lyrics are carefully crafted and poignant, and his melodies don’t have a note out of place. Perhaps it’s that juxtaposition that makes him so good.
Baxter released his second album, Imaginary Man, last August and has since been touring all over the world. This year he released his Soho EP, which sees him strip down five songs on Imaginary Man to just him and a guitar. While his work with a full band is absolutely electric, his solo work is where he truly shines. Simply breathtaking.
"For me, [songs] start with me and a guitar and in the studio it can open up into something else, bigger," he says, adding the process of penning those stripped-down songs came out of the convenience of a friend in London having open studio time.
"I just popped in there one night and got some beer and food and cigarettes and... it’s a legendary studio so there’s lots of ghosts in there, you know, it was easy to be inspired," he says. "That’s the original form of the song. So it’s nice to see one version and then the other.
"I had just finished a two week tour in Europe playing solo right before the record came out and so I was handling the songs well, I knew my way around them, in and out and I was comfortable with my voice. I think everyone should do that... to go record them while you’re hot."
There’s only one more chance to see Baxter perform this weekend: at the Plectrum Electrum workshop, which starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Shady Grove.
Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.