Rayland Baxter gives Vancouver a healthy dose of Americana

Rayland Baxter and Skywayman at the Biltmore Cabaret, 9/5/18

Photos by Mary Collier

On Wednesday evening, in the deep dark depths of the Biltmore Cabaret, the warm, folky hum of Skywayman (James Wallace) could be heard from the streets. Skywayman has blended together his own genre of music best described as folk futurism. His unique sound got the crowd jittery and wanting more from this Virginia boy.  

Then, out of the shadows Rayland Baxter lumbered on-stage, his over six-foot-tall body and flood pants commanded attention. The band wasted no time and started things off with “Strange American Dream.” This is the first song on his newest album, Wide Awake, that he is currently touring.

Photos by Mary Collier

Baxter has been churning out albums since he started performing in 2010. He played a very full set and covered most of his discography. Wide Awake has more of an Americana feel than the rest.

This album has heavy bass and and a gritty feel that sets it apart from the rest. This new sound definitely came out with mind numbing bass and drum solos that reverberated up your spine.

As more Trash Panda IPAs were cracked, the band played hit after hit. Baxter then came out with “Yellow Eyes” and it was nothing short of perfection. The whole band was so happy to just be in Canada, and talked about how the Canadian security guards must be sick of bands coming up from the states, looking like hippies and getting stuck at the border (which happened to Baxter on the way up).

After the show Vancouver Weekly chatted with Baxter about his tour, and the truth came out that he has a soft spot for the East Coast.

Photos by Mary Collier

“When I first came to Canada and played a show in Halifax, I played underneath a cherry tree with cherry blossoms. And then the next time I went back to play, I ate the cherries from the tree. Man, I love the East Coast, but I also love the west.”

The Canadiana charm must have rubbed off this Americana man. And boy oh boy, are we happy that they crossed the border and made it to the Biltmore on Wednesday night.