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KaiL Baxley – A Light That Never Dies (A Music Review)

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

KaiL Baxley - A Light That Never Dies

KaiL Baxley – A Light That Never Dies

KaiL Baxley – A Light That Never Dies (Forty Below)

Over the years, soul music has become a territory for beats and bass, so it’s always a bit of a shock when a real old school soul man shows up on the scene.

Cue up “Tell the Falling Sun,” the third and most spectacular track on KaiL Baxley’s uniformly terrific second album A Light That Never Dies, and you’ll know what I mean.  A husky-voiced rhythm and bluesman in the mold of Ray Charles and Otis Redding, Baxley’s music succeeds at the tricky job of sounds gloriously retro and yet somehow current.

From the yearning “Morning Light” to the pop-laced and yet foreboding “Mirrors of Paradise,” Baxley’s music never ceases intriguing.  Baxley’s southern roots shine through on these eleven songs, which hang together stylistically at the same time as pushing into different styles and genres like the sweet piano instrumental “Still Wonder (Interlude)” and the boho-rock inflected “Mr. Downtown.”

Then, when Baxley cries out “There ain’t no mercy for you” in the otherwise rather upbeat horn-laced mid-tempo stomper “The Ballad of Johnny Steel,” you can hear the hellhounds nipping at his heels.  At the same time, he can be gorgeously introspective in the folky “Chasing James Dean.”

A Light That Never Dies is a surprisingly rich motherlode of soulful goodness that feels like a lost classic from the 60s or 70s.  And here’s hoping that eventually Baxley releases his recent stunning cover of Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” which is on YouTube.  The addition of that song would have made A Light That Never Dies damn near perfect.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2015 All rights reserved. Posted: June 10, 2015.

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