REVIEW: Rayland Baxter - Feathers & Fishhooks

If there was an award for "Rookie Of The Year" in the music industry then Rayland Baxter would win it. Sure, the Grammys give out a Best New Artist award, but this is a different thing. The thing about Baxter's debut album is that it is like an album that a seasoned veteran would have released. It is grown up and catchy at the same time, but doesn't seem gimmicky or like a copycat. There are a bunch of songs on the album with are updated versions of Rayland's originals which he's been showcasing on his website and his own independently released EP, but on this album they get the full treatment they deserve and make their previous incarnations seem just like demos. "The Mtn Song" is by far one of the best of the album and quite possibly within the top ten songs of the year. It's simple and straightforward, but allows the listener to become wrapped up inside the lyrics. Other standouts include the first single "Driveway Melody" and "The Woman For Me." At the core, the entire album is just a man and his guitar, but the layers of instrumentation and melody lift each lyric to a new height. Rayland Baxter is not going to get the praise he deserves because too many music fans are going to overlook this album, and that's a shame. But those who do will find a diamond and will fall in love with his music instantly.