Tangled Up (CD)

Modernizes his well-crafted county songs with soul, R&B and funk in the mix. A smooth crooner with a touch of sandpaper and whisky rounding out the edges.

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Pageant Material (CD)
The bluegrass-inspired country pop star avoids the sophomore slump with an excellent second studio release that stays true to her roots. “Mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy.” How can you resist? Read more
Imaginary Man (CD)

With a bit of Bruce Springsteen’s everyman tales, Tom Petty’s ability to put those sentiments into hooky tunes and Ryan Adams’ rock ‘n’ roll heart, Nashville-bred Rayland Baxter, who is the son of slide guitar player Bucky Baxter, succeeds an esteemed line of artists who blend songwriting smarts with heartland grit. Baxter’s stories are detailed and imaginative (“Slave and the jester, they met in the park/slow song in the distance and a dance through the dark,” he sings evocatively on dazzling opener “Mr. Rodriguez”), but melodicism abounds as well, on tunes like the indie-poppish “Mother Mother.” All of this comes together magically on the sighing country-pop of “Yellow Eyes” and blistering, noirish rocker “Young Man” — one sounds the soundtrack to a Western romance, the other a candidate for opening credits to “True Detective,” to give you an idea of his breadth. Whether playing the traveling romantic or outlaw on the run, everything Baxter does comes up aces on Imaginary Man.

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