NPR logo

Kail Baxley: Music From An Amateur Boxer Who Danced For James Brown

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/176024605/176009520" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Kail Baxley: Music From An Amateur Boxer Who Danced For James Brown

Kail Baxley: Music From An Amateur Boxer Who Danced For James Brown

Kail Baxley: Music From An Amateur Boxer Who Danced For James Brown

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/176024605/176009520" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Kail Baxley. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artist

Kail Baxley.

Courtesy of the artist

Set List

  • "Say Goodbye To The Night"
  • "The Rebel"
  • "Legend Of The Western Hills"
  • "Boy Got It Bad"

When Kail Baxley was a kid growing up in Williston, S.C., James Brown used to challenge him to dance-offs. Baxley didn't win so much. He did better as an amateur boxer — his key to getting out of the small town and traveling to Europe and Africa.

Baxley eventually became as obsessed with playing guitar and writing songs as he was with boxing. In this installment of World Cafe, he discusses how a trip to County Wicklow in Ireland led to the songs on Baxley's full-length debut, Heatstroke/The Wind and the War. Baxley and his band also play tunes from the album and discuss the inspiration behind "The Rebel."