An Exclusive Interview with Kail Baxley
Exclusive Interview with Kail Baxley by Richard Lhommedieu on Mixcloud
On his second album A Light That Never Dies which will be released in North America on June 2, 2015 via Forty Below Records (MRI/RED), KaiL Baxley has returned with a hard hitting, lush and beautifully haunting collection of songs. Co-produced with Producer/Engineer Eric Corne whose recording credits include Lucinda Williams, Glen Campbell, Kim Deal and John Mayall, the album was recorded over the last year in three different cities
(Los Angeles, CA; Brooklyn, NY; and Charleston, SC).
“We used a lot of really old gear on this one to capture that warm analog sound and preserve its truth,” says KaiL about the album. “I’m proud of what Eric and I got out of the studio and I’m eager to get out on the road and share it with people.”
Hailing from the small backwater town of Willison-Elko – a town so small that most people in South Carolina don’t even know where it is, much less the rest of the world. It’s only claim to fame is soul legend James Brown, with whom Baxley shared an unlikely friendship as a child. Perhaps this was one of the leading influences in Baxley’s soul-drenched music… or perhaps it was the similar circumstances in which they were raised that fuels such deep emotion in an individual.
Abandoned by both his mother and father as a small child Baxley was raised by his grandfather Woody until age 12. When he passed away, KaiL bounced from one living situation to another, rarely living in one place for more than a year at a time. It was in this constant migration that he found escape in a pair of old RCA headphones.
“It wasn’t all bad really,” he recalls. “I got to know quite a bit of music from all different genres during that time period. I’d stay with my uncle for a while and pick up some Van Morrison; my auntie gave me the Stones;friends parents turned me on to gospel. Then I discovered hiphop and it was all over. I was hooked.”
This is the very apparent source of inspiration in KaiL Baxley’s genre-bending music that also blends blues, indie rock, soul, gospel, and syncopated hiphop-style beats into a most exquisite and easily drinkable cocktail of sound – a sound that he has dubbed “Soul Swagger”.
KaiL’s debut effort, Heatstroke/The Wind and the War, was presented as a double EP which displayed the yin and yang of his musical range. A surprise nominee for NPR‘s Album Of The Year, it received critical acclaim, including a debut at SXSW, where Baxley was tapped as, “One of NPR’s top new artists” by All Songs Considered.
“His voice falls somewhere between Joe Cocker and Bill Withers with a husky authority. The guy is a whiz-bang folkie-turned-soul-rocker and has a voice which can make you dance or which melts butter, depending upon the tune.”
– Frank Gutch Jr. / Segarini