“A Light That Never Dies”
Forty Below Records
By Patrick Prince
With the soul of a Leonard Cohen and the husky voice of a seasoned bluesman, Kail Baxley and his second album “A Light That Never Dies” come to be a very pleasant surprise. The songwriting, in fact, has its many influences in order, from R&B to Folk to Blues — and the listener can hear the emotions of both pain and joy bleed through the record. For instance, “The Ballad of Johnny Steel” and “Better Feelin’ Better Days” groove moodily like successful exorcisms — both the suffering and the relief of letting the demons go.
Baxley’s paid his dues in life, so the emotion is true. Baxley was abandoned by his parents at an early age and bounced around from one living situation to the next. But Kail Baxley views this experience as life-learning.
“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…”
And, for the entire length of “A Light That Never Dies,” Kail Baxley produces the atmospheric cleanse of gospel — backing vocals and horns placed in a correctly distinct manner behind the preacher’s perfect delivery.
As close to five stars as you can get. Don’t let this artist fly under the radar.
The album can be ordered here. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
In the meantime, below is a song, “Boy Got it Bad,” from Kail Baxley’s debut album. Enjoy.