Rayland Baxter took advantage of solitude he had while writing his new album.
He holed up in an old rubber band factory turned studio, Thunder Sound, in Kentucky while working on the album, “If I Were a Butterfly.”
“I had written 130 songs,” he says. “But most of those were incomplete and about 80 of them were full songs. I learned that I should better organize my song notes. I think I wrote too much and I brought to the studio too many song options. I was trying to figure it out and it got overwhelming.”
Baxter is currently on tour and will make a stop n Santa Fe at Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery on Wednesday, April 5.
“If I Were a Butterfly,” is Baxter’s fourth studio album.
He wanted to record in a space that would be a humble environment all while being a writing haven.
“I spent that year living in a barn with the squirrels and the birds, on my own most of the time, and I discovered so much about music and how to create it,” Baxter says. “Instead of going into a studio with a producer for two weeks, I just waited for the record to build itself. I’d get up and go outside, see a butterfly and connect that with some impulsive thought I’d had three months ago, and suddenly a song I’d been working on would make sense. That’s how the whole album came to be.”
Baxter co-produced the album alongside Tim O’Sullivan and Kai Welch, at the trio slowly pieced together the album’s patchwork of lush psychedelia and Beatlesesque pop.
In addition to working at Thunder Sound, Baxter recorded in California, Texas, Tennessee and Washington, enlisting a remarkable lineup of musicians: Shakey Graves, Lennon Stella, several members of Cage the Elephant, Zac Cockrell of Alabama Shakes, Morning Teleportation’s Travis Goodwin, and legendary Motown drummer Bobbye Jean Hall.
“We recorded 30 songs over two years between January 2020 and January 2022,” he says. “It was then whittled down to 20 and we mixed 15 of those. The rest are songs that I plan to release at a later date.”
For the tour, Baxter will perform songs from all four albums. He says there will be four on stage, laying drums, bass, guitar and vocals.
“There are not keyboards on this tour, unless I can find people in the different cities to perform with us,” he says. “It will all come together as the tour goes. I’m excited to play the new material because we worked on it for so long. We’ll do as much as possible in a 90- to 100-minute set.”
Baxter says the goal of the album is to impart joy.
“It’s been a weird few years, but I think the big picture is for us to just exist and find love and be loved,” Baxter says. “I hope that this album makes people feel the way I do whenever I listen to my favorite records, and that it gives them a platform to dream on.”