Rayland Baxter

Rayland Baxter

Thoreau had Walden Pond. Kerouac had Big Sur. Rayland Baxter? He had an old rubber band factory in Franklin, Kentucky, and it suited him just fine. As one of the hardest-touring artists on the road today, Baxter’s spent most of his professional life in transit, but ever since he was a kid, he dreamed of creative seclusion someplace lonely and isolated, somewhere he could sit still and devote his every waking hour to writing without interruption or distraction. When the opportunity finally presented itself in late 2016, the Nashville native pounced, relocating to factory-turned-studio Thunder Sound for three full months of intensive soul searching and obsessive songwriting. By the time he emerged, he’d penned more than 50 tunes and crafted a detailed blueprint for his spectacular new album, ‘Wide Awake.’

Deftly produced by Butch Walker, the record infuses Baxter’s easygoing, soulful sound with British Invasion melodies and rock and roll swagger, marrying lean, muscular songwriting with adventurous, inventive arrangements. It’s a cutting, insightful collection, one that takes a sardonic view the violence, greed, and division that seem to define the modern American landscape. Rather than point a finger, though, the music holds up a mirror, offering a sober reflection of the times thoughtfully bundled in bright, infectious hooks. There’s no judgment here, only keen observation, and the album’s broad, wide-angle musings often come bundled inside deeply personal memories.

Kendall Street Company

Kendall Street Company

From late night jam sessions at the University of Virginia to main stages at venues and festivals throughout the country, Kendall Street Company has broken the mold of improvised rock and enters a world of jazz-grass infused psychedelic bliss. With no two shows ever the same, word of mouth has quickly grown a ravenous fanbase eager to hear their favorite studio tracks explored and extended as part of a live community. As seasoned KSC fans can tell you, any one of their songs could turn from a fun sing-along, into a headbanging garage-rock soundscape, to a Klezmer-disco dance party, and then resolve into a peaceful ambient meditation that evokes the nostalgia of your childhood.

Averaging over 100 shows per year since 2013, the band is comprised of Louis Smith [Acoustic gtr, vocals], Brian Roy [Bass], Ryan Wood [Drums], Ben Laderberg [Electric gtr], and Jake Vanaman [Sax]. KSC has performed at festivals such as Lockn’, Roosterwalk, Floydfest, Resonance, and Domefest and has opened for acts such as Papadosio Umphrey's McGee, Tauk, and Leftover Salmon. All the while, the band has proudly released three records and two EPs.

2020 is building up to be the biggest year yet. Along with two (or perhaps three) new records on the horizon, their upcoming Winter/Spring tour will take them all across the country in Woody Guthrie fashion. From Louisiana to Texas, Colorado to Wisconsin, Ohio to Boston, New York City and more, the band has no intent of slowing down soon.