Review by Shannon Shumaker
KaiL Baxley’s A Light That Never Dies is full of many moods, captivating stories and remarkable songwriting. In order to fully enjoy this album, though, you need to devote all of your attention to it, or you will run the risk of missing the little moments that make A Light That Never Dies so strong. One of those strengths is the soul in Baxley’s voice, which is apparent within the first few lines of the album’s first track. While soft and rather mellow (there really isn’t a lot going on instrumentally) “A Light That Never Dies” is carried heavily by soothing, soulful vocals that lull you into relaxation before “Mr. Downtown” comes in.
Easily the best thing about A Light That Never Dies is the album’s diversity. You never feel as if you’ve listened to the same song twice, and that’s due to the many different moods and stories on the album. “Mr. Downtown,” for instance is slow and sensual (and even a little playful) carried by smooth horns and a strong bass line, while the following track, “Tell The Falling Sun” is a beautiful love song. “The Ballad Of Johnny” is catchy as hell and feels very bluesy, with great storytelling in the lyricism in the vocals. One of the strongest tracks is “Morning Light,” which is a very stripped down version of Baxley. It’s soft and beautiful, another love song, and Baxley serenades you with his incredible vocals and an acoustic guitar.
The songwriting on A Light That Never Dies is remarkable, and it only seems to grow as the album goes on. Admittedly, it did take me a few listens to realize this, however, and that’s due to the fact that I wasn’t entirely paying attention during my first few listens of this album, which just goes to prove that it isn’t meant to be background noise. Some of the more mellow songs, specifically “Morning Light” (again, one of the strongest on the album) will fade into the background if you’re not paying attention, but if you are, you’re bound to find some truly beautiful songs that will stick with you for a long time to come. A Light That Never Dies is an album that you need to give your full attention to, or you may just miss something that makes this album great.
“Still Wonder,” the interlude track on the album, is a perfect example of blink and you miss it great songwriting. It’s a haunting track, carried by piano and violin, flowing easily into the following darker track, “Troubled Souls,” which kicks off with a lone violin, acoustic guitar and deep vocals. “Chasing James Dean,” comes along afterward and mellows out the album before “Mirrors of Paradise” brings it to a strong and heartfelt close with gorgeous vocal harmonies and an incredible string section.
While A LIght That Never Dies may be an album that takes a few listens to fully understand, once it hooks you, it won’t let go. There’s a little something for everyone with this album - darker songs such as “Troubled Souls,” upbeat playful songs like “Mr. Downtown,” and even some beautiful love songs thrown in the mix. A Light That Never Dies is gorgeous and well worth the listen.
Listen to "Morning Light" "A Light That Never Dies" or "Mirrors of Paradise"