This week, Nashville-based artist Rayland Baxter is brought to the spotlight with his beautifully smooth and catchy tune, “Yellow Eyes”.
Rayland Baxter is the son of slide guitarist Bucky Baxter, who played with the likes of Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams and R.E.M. So to say that young Baxter grew up around music may be a slight understatement. The 31-year-old spent a lot of time traveling back in the day, and even lived in Israel for a period of time. No matter where he went though, he couldn’t escape his burning desire to write. His travels inspired many of his songs, and if you listen closely to the structures and instruments throughout his albums, you can hear the influences from different areas around the world.
While many artists struggle with writing, and some even call it painful, Baxter’s easy going personality allows his songs to flow right out as they swing along from one verse to the next. As we would say in the south, his voice is smooth like molasses. We can hear tinges of Ryan Adams and even the passion of Marcus Mumford, but Rayland Baxter is simply himself in his music; never trying to mimic the sound of a different artist.
“Yellow Eyes” depicts Baxter’s lonesome and independent tone. Even the structure of the song is symbolic of his emotions, with it’s constant progression and ease of transitioning from one verse to the next—the way that the artist seems to progress through his own life. "I'm on the road/Knowing not which way to go/Is it yes or is it no?/I don't really care."
We can also hear his sense of humor, the way that it doesn’t mourn in an overly serious breakup ballad, but an honest reflection. He warns his future lovers, “I’ll leave you lonely”, over and over throughout. The ambiguity of the song keeps it far from an overly transparent pop tune.
The guitar riff, a huge component of the song, carries us through and dances around the words, “Find a girl with yellow eyes, and go and break her heart”. We can also hear slight influences from Santana within the featured instrument. “Yellow Eyes” is simply easy to dance to, relate to, sing to, and love.
We’ve been singing this song since the album release date on August 14th, and can envision “Yellow Eyes” against a myriad of motion picture projects. Its catchy riffs and easy, floating sounds, lead us to believe that this song would fit nicely with a commercial. Upon closer listening, the song could be featured against a film, playing more off of the lyrics. Perhaps in a time of searching and wandering of a lead character, happily lost in a journey of self-discovery.
Rayland Baxter is even better live. His voice is just as rogue and velvety on stage, up against a microphone, as it is coming through your speakers. So check out his website and follow him on social media to try to catch a show!