Impressive Show by Modern Vintage Songwriter KaiL Baxley
Every once in a while, I go to a show with no expectation or preconceived notion about the artist — other than that I found the description interesting — and I am blown away. This was the case when KaiL Baxley (yes, that should be a capital L) came to Club Passim last week.
Baxley appeared shy as he took the stage to a relatively small crowd. It was a Sunday night so hopefully that was the reason the crowd was smaller than he deserved. Regardless, Baxley played acoustic guitar, adding harmonica on one or two songs, and he was accompanied by Aodhan O’Reilly on electric guitar. As much as I was impressed by Baxley, I was equally impressed by O’Reilly.
The first thing I noticed was Baxley’s mesmerizing, soulful voice. His soul influence makes sense, since, as a child, he lived in the town from which James Brown hailed, and got to know him. Of course, Baxley sounds nothing like James Brown, but he definitely has soul.
He is touring in support of his recent release, A Light That Never Dies, and that album is a winner. My favorite song on it is “Chasing James Dean” — a hushed and haunting tune that is representative of his style. “Morning Light” also shows his songwriting and voice at their best. “Mirrors of Paradise” has the lyric “We’re alive,” which is the way I felt listening to and watching Baxley play.
Even though his style is mellow and does not cause me to chair dance, I found this performance to be so enchanting that I felt a bit more alive.
Baxley is based in Los Angeles and I do not know how extensively he tours, but if he comes to a town near you, I highly recommend seeing him.