One of the absolute best artists to spring from Nashville in recent years, alt-Americana turned psych folk genre bender Rayland Baxter just released his highly-anticipated third album, Wide Awake, last week. To celebrate the Butch Walker-produced effort, which features an all-star studio band, Baxter headlined a sold out hometown show last night, July 18 at The Basement East, and will perform once again tonight, July 19 with support from psych pop supergroup Okey Dokey and cosmic country singer-songwriter Katie Schecter. A fantastic and honed live performer and now a buzzworthy national fixture, Rayland is nothing short of stellar each and every show, and with his best batch of songs ever in tow, this one is sure to be extra special. You can still grab tickets here, and with last night’s sell out, they might not last. Read on for more about the show!
The ascent of local singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter has been an exciting one to watch, and is certainly well-deserved, as he’s one of the most profound and versatile artists to emerge from the Nashville scene and recent memory. After collaborating with Caitlin Rose on “Shanghai Cigarettes” way back in 2010, Rayland, the son of multi-instrumentalist Bucky Baxter (who’s played with everyone from Bob Dylan to Ryan Adams), found swift critical praise for his 2012 full-length debut, Feathers & Fishhooks. Big tours, festival appearances, and national buzz would soon follow, and by 2015’s incredible Imaginary Man, Baxter had begun to play with a full backing band, and to push his early alt-country and Americana leanings to more adventurous, rock-infused, pop, and retro psychedelic heights. Now firmly a national presence, and certainly a local icon, Baxter debuts new LP Wide Awake on July 13, taking an even more expansive, honed, and filled-out turn. Written while isolated in an old rubber band factory in Franklin, Kentucky, and recorded in Santa Monica under the guidance of acclaimed producer (and sometimes Nashvillian) Butch Walker, the record features Dr. Dog’s Erick Slick on drums, Butch Walker on bass, Cage The Elephant’s Nick Bockrath on guitar, and piano wizard Aaron Embry (Elliott Smith, Brian Eno) on keys, culminating in a hypnotic, harmon-laden, substantive, and socially-charged effort that is, without a doubt, Baxter’s finest work yet. Needless to say, a hometown show sounds like the perfect way to celebrate.
We’ve been following the rapid rise of local psych pop outfit Okey Dokey since they first sprung onto the scene in early 2016. Formed by visual artist Aaron Martin and guitarist Jonny Fisher, formerly of Sol Cat and currently a live member of The Weeks, the band began fleshing out their unique and entrancing sound with the help of friends from other projects, including The Weeks, Sol Cat, Diane Coffee, Wild Child, and Desert Noises. They’ve come a long way since we hosted them at our No Country Presents showcase at Acme Feed & Seed that spring, and, following the release of their stellar debut album, Love You, Mean It, last year, have gone on to tour with bigger and bigger acts and landed spots at a number of regional and national festivals. Though the buzz from their debut is still pushing the group to bigger audiences and new ears, Okey Dokey aren’t slowing down on the creative output, dropping a few non-LP singles throughout last year, and even drumming up some buzz with a brand new EP, Besides, ahead of their recent Bonnaoo debut. With a groovy, soulful, pop accessible psych rock sound, the band are a vibey, engaging good time live, and a perfect compliment to Rayland’s sound and style.
Fusing cosmic, dreamy country and Americana vibes with ’60s psychedelic pop, singer-songwriter Katie Schecter cut her teeth performing in bands New York, before relocating to Nashville and refocusing the solo sound that makes up her eponymous 2017 mini album. Recorded in the same repurposed Kentucky rubber band factory where Rayland composed his latest, by Cage the Elephant guitarist Nick Bockrath, the record is an essential local release, and feels primed to get this show going on a high note!
Rayland Baxter, Okey Dokey, and Katie Schecter will perform tonight, July 19 at The Basement East. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $20.