STAY AWHILE... AN INTIMATE INTERVIEW WITH ERICK BAKER
Ten years after releasing his debut EP,Erick Baker returns with a stripped-down acoustic trio to give thanks for over a decade of making music and to celebrate the release of his NEW album, Morning Light.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of making his acquaintance, on the books, Erick Baker is an Americana singer-songwriter and Emmy Award winning Writer and Host of the national PBS travel television series Tennessee Valley Uncharted.
He’s a self-taught guitarist and vocalist, who interestingly enough, didn’t start playing music until after earning his degree in Public Relations from the University of Tennessee. Since then, he’s gone on to share the stage with artists like John Legend, Brandi Carlile, Gavin DeGraw, the Goo Goo Dolls, Grace Potter, and Heart, as well as tour Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, performing for our men and women in uniform stationed overseas.
But off the books, he’s so much more.
I first got to interview Erick two years ago when he was about to perform “Rock the Kettle” for the Salvation Army’s kick off to the bell ringing season. He had just released his new album “Dear Amanda”, which really was fitting as the album was in a way about “Salvation” for Erick; salvaging the person he was and wanted to be as well as the relationships he had.
Now I have the chance to catch up, get an intimate glimpse of how he has taken hold of his aspirations from that last album, where it has taken him and his family and what may lay ahead.
Listening to Erick share his struggles and his personal accomplishments, just reiterates that we all share and aspire to more meaningful relationships and if we are intentional, we can achieve them ourselves.
“The biggest struggle we all have is that battle for balance. It’s daily work to maintain balance & health in your relationships. Not just with the Entertainment industry, but even those men and women who travel for their job, those overseas defending our country and are gone a year at a time. So it’s something most of us are going through- still today, the hardest thing is pulling out of the driveway.”
“It’s so perfect that it’s January [for this article], because the theme of the record; beginning of a new day, a new dawn, new opportunity, to make the most of the day. Time is always a theme that runs through my music. The title track of the album is kind of the foundation of the whole record- it’s called “Morning Light” and it goes:
"So lets light the night on fire, Burn it to the ground, Lets love tonight Like we’ll never see morning light”
“It’s about making the most of right now. I feel like that’s what we’re all striving to do, I mean that idea is nothing new, but even just with my personal situations and my last record, basically saying Hey! I need to change, I need to change right now! Then with Mandy leaving her position as a NICU nurse [to be apart of the band], it’s a new dawn for her- but we can’t wait till tomorrow. She’s learning something new- plus being an introvert and being around strangers a lot, it’s been a season of growth for sure, self discovery, self reflection, maturity... some what, and reconnection. Reconnection has been a big thing; as a family, with our friends, our church, so going into 2019 as a family, we’re the best we’ve ever been.
When the morning comes hopefully we can look back on yesterday and know we didn’t waste it. It’s about being present with intention. You have to be intentional with your time, even something as fundamental as your breath. I did yoga this morning, it’s all about being intentional, that’s the thing that brings you into the moment.”
Looking ahead to the Knoxville Show
Looking ahead to the Knoxville show, I am exciting to see what Erick has in store. If you haven’t seen his live video of the song “My Two Left Feet”, go check it out! It’s an incredible collaboration I was hoping to catch in person at this show, unfortunately there won’t be a repeat, but he has assured me I will be pleasantly surprised. Tickets are still available!
“With the Bijou shows, I always try to do something new, unique. Each time is a different experience. This show will be a celebration. I’ll be celebrating the last 10 years of making music, well ten years since I released my first record. It will be new music and favorites and a few special guest appearance to forward to.”
Keep up with Erick Baker’s music, his family adventures and more on Facebook, Instagram or his website:
If you can’t get enough of Erick, don’t forget to check out his new season on Tennessee Valley Uncharted, premiering on PBS.
“[My experience] with Tennessee Valley Uncharted, this new season, number 5, some of the highlights for me, was one going up to Boling Green, NC to the National Corvette Museum where I got to drive a Corvette on the racetrack, getting it up to 118mph almost 120mph!
We also went to Linville Gorge, NC to do a version of slack lining, called high lining, where they use drones to fly the line between 2 points. [And the pros couldn’t believe he tried it himself!]
We also got to go to the Mississippi Delta, which as a musician, for me, when you trace the roots of music, all roads lead to the Mississippi Delta. So it was so much fun experiencing that Juke Joint, Blues, history. I originally grew up in Memphis, TN, so blues is a big part of me. I’ve never had voice lessons, so I basically learned from feeling it. The passion, that to me, that’s what makes a great singer. It’s not about hitting the notes, I mean you definitely want to hit the notes and everything but it’s that I don’t want to just hear you, I want to feel you. So what I lack in technical ability, emotion is definitely the driving force of all my music. It’s really cool how the TV show parallels being in a band so closely but then in terms of the experience and everything we’re doing [in the show], it just parallels my life so perfectly well.”