1. Why I'm Leavin' 2. Your Mistakes 3. My Kinda' Girl 4. Rain 5. What's Going On
6. Ride 7. Left Out of Nowhere 8. Last Saturday Night 9. Expectations 10. U
Label: Baker / Release Date: 2009
The corporate music industry is over. Radio is no longer the source for music. MTV? Forget it, unless you're into not so real reality shows with young thugs punching out girls on the Jersey Shore.
And yet the 2000's are shaping up to be a good time for music again. The Zac Brown Band is getting it done. "Pass The Jar Live From The Fabulous Fox Theater," their follow up to "The Foundation" is great, and have you seen the edition of CMT's Crossroads that has been running on Palladia featuring Brown and Jimmy Buffett? It is killer. Seek it out.
Santana is on the road with special guest Steve Winwood this summer. Both Gogol Bordello and Flogging Molly have new CD's out.
Finally there's some real music that's real good. Another example of this comes from an Illinois dude who now resides in California named Baker. His new CD can hold its own with all of the artists above. It is titled "Baker" and it is nothing short of incredible.
It's not easy to write about a new artist without comparing their music to others. Way back when there was Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds from those bands the careers of Neil Young and Poco evolved, and then there was The Eagles and on and on right up to now with Baker. He is next in line with music makers from that great American rock country tradition.
The striking, no-nonsense cover photo of the man looking you right in the eye is a perfect representation for the straight-to-your-soul music on the inside. Every cut in this collection is a gem. First line, first cut "She can cry real good she can make me feel bad" and we are off and running with "Why I'm Leavin," and our first taste of the artist's clear, easy on the ear vocal style. Reminds you of the pre-millionaire Eagles when they were still pure and hungry.
When you hear the line, "Slide along the cutting edge someone's gonna bleed," from "Your Mistakes," you realize that Baker can write too. The cut features his great lead vocal and harmonies that rival Poco at their apogee.
"My Kinda Girl" is a tune Joe Ely would have been proud to have recorded. A just damn pretty vocal and mandolin by Michael Lennon kick it off. Mix in the vocal harmony/guitar filled sound and lyrics and well, just turn it up. "Rain" is a Glenn Frey-type ballad, a potential Grammy award winner. Then, "What's Going On" ..here Baker gets down to his roots on this Garth Brooks meets Poco kind of song.
It's followed by "Ride." Wow, if Rick Nelson and The Stone Canyon Band were still on the scene this is what they would sound like .Nelson with a little Steve Wariner and Neil Young .can you hear it? See what I'm saying? Maybe America if they ever let it rip. Just trying to describe the indescribable here. "Ride" is what this artist is all about. The cut is his first classic.
"Left Out of Nowhere" is another hit. It's good as any, and better than most of the Eagles greatest hits. Yeah, that's what I wrote.
When "Last Saturday Night" began and I thought hold on this ain't Poco this ain't no Neil Young deal this is chicken-fried Stones! Jagger would have loved to wrap his lips around these lyrics: "Now its 3 AM took the bartender home She's a dirty blonde with a black skirt on." In the middle of this scorcher, Baker and Isaiah Mitchell do a killer guitar tribute to Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards. Just when I had this CD figured out it tossed me this real cool musical curve.
Then the humid and sticky Creedence Clearwaterish funk sound of "Expectations." If you loved the Fogerty brothers you'll love this. If you don't get the reference just remember it's always new for someone, so turn it up and enjoy the trip. Listen how the guy uses the word polite and Harley in the same line .genius.
The last cut "U" brings us in for a mellow landing. Starts off with just an acoustic guitar and solo vocal singing, "Palm trees and ocean breeze, one more Margarita please." It reminds us that Neil was young once and the torch has been passed.
Everyone involved in this project performs brilliantly. To single out a few, there's Anthony Crawford on steel guitar. He's worked with Neil Young and Vince Gill. Then there's the co-writer/engineer/producer Andy Acklang who has worked with The Eagles, Eric Clapton and Willie Nelson. These guys brought everything they've ever done or learned to this new CD. Its obvious Baker has decided to surround himself with the best, but the deal is these guys decided to work with him as well. Neil Young, Vince Gill, Eagles, Clapton, Willie .Baker you see what I'm saying here?
Bottom line Baker is on the scene. Can't promise he'll save the day, but now at least we've got a shot. If you only do one thing for yourself this week buy this CD. It will clear your head and make you feel good knowin' that despite the cookie cutter, over-produced noise that is so often fed to us today there is still real music being created. They say the truth will set you free. Baker is close to the truth you're gonna get in 2010.
You can purchase Baker's new CD at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bakersongs
Check out his website at http://www.bakersongs.com/Bakersongs/Home.html