KaiL Baxley has one of those incredible back stories that really are hard to believe. From having dance offs with James Brown, to being an aspiring US Olympic boxing team member who lost his way on that path after a run in with the law. He has a gunshot wound in his left shoulder, as a teenager he got by working two jobs – digging graves for the local funeral home and working the watermelon fields of his hometown in the rural South Carolina heartland.
It’s a life that seems unbearably tough – both of his parents died from drug overdoses, before that he’d had hardly any paternal contact, and James Brown was someone his mother met whilst she was in the state penitentiary. And somewhere along the way KaiL Baxley found music thanks to a Haitian refugee who along with his hometown’s best guitarist, the local car mechanic, taught him the basics of rhythm and blues. Even music wasn’t an easy choice as KaiL Baxley drove to LA without much more than a guitar and slept in an RV for 2 years on Selma blvd in order to pay for his first record ‘Heat Stroke / The Wind and The War‘.
His latest album is ‘Beneath the Bones‘, which is released on March 6th via AntiFragile Music. The slow paced ‘Stump Liquor‘, shared exclusively from that album, has a menacing groove to it and typically it also has a dark edged tale attached to it as KaiL Baxley explained to us: “In the part of the South where I grew up they used to call moonshine “Stump Liquor.” This song is a basic narrative about my grandmother’s cousin who was shot and killed by his wife for foolin’ around with another woman. He was in the bootleg business and ironically had the nickname Boot. He knew she’d found out and he knew the likely outcome and in spite of the situation, he sat there drinking on the porch waiting for her to come home. It was that period of waiting that captured imagination.”