THE BAKER BOYS reviews
You hear the word multi-talented a lot in music circles, to the point where it stops meaning much. Then you meet somebody who truly is multi-talented -- somebody who can play two or three instruments proficiently, who sings, composes, harmonizes, sincerely projects a range of styles in a range of genres, and you think, Maybe multi-talented really happens. Then you find out he has a brother -- and you have to multiply multi-talented times two. Thats the Baker Boys.
Jessie Baker taught himself the major chords at age eleven after receiving a ten dollar pawn shop guitar from his grandma. He soon branched out to his primary instrument, the banjo. Around the same time, nine-year old Taylor Baker started on mandolin because it fit his hands, and has since begun playing fiddle. Both Boys sing and have a natural ear for harmonies. After playing together only six weeks, Taylor and Jessie played on stage at a local festival. They took every first place prize they tried for in Indiana state competitions.
Home-schooled, the Baker Boys soon figured out that if they could get through their lessons without slacking, theyd have the rest of the day free to pick. They started winning awards and gaining attention wherever they went. Their father Rex and mother Anna were extremely supportive of their abilities, driving long distances to music events wherethe Boys could be heard and appreciated and where they could win more ribbons. Anna, playing bass and contributing vocal harmonies, joined them, allowing the duo to expand their repertoire. Working with a band further increased the speed and flexibility of their styles. The Baker Boys band, led by Jessie, garnered a goodly share of first place prizes. Jessie also performs regularly with The Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show, proving his flexibility by switching from banjo to mandolin for that aggregation.
I love real traditional bluegrass, Jessie says. The old stuff. Taylor shares that enthusiasm, as well as an insatiable desire to learn many styles of music on the mandolin from Italian to jazz. The brothers demonstrate a special touch with gospel songs, having been raised in a religious family in the heartland of America. Its clear that the Baker Boys have already mastered the basics and more from masters of their craft Reno and Smiley, Red Allen, Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs.
On this production youll hear the Boys tackle
everything from the high-strung drive of Ralph Stanleys Hard Times
to the rarified strains of Frank Wakefields Lonesome Weary Heart,
all delivered with an enviable balance of spirit and decorum. Wakefield
contributes a mandolin solo on the fast and furious opener, Air Mail Special.
The Boys are also assisted by journeyman playersMichael Cleveland (fiddle),
Audie Blaylock (rhythm guitar and percussion) and Barry Reid (bass) with
contributions from Jordan Tice and Danny Knicely.
Barbara Bamberger Scott
|1. Air Mail Special
on the Fly
2. Cold Grey Tomb of Stone
4. My Baby's Gone
5. Lonesome Weary Heart
6. Talk of the Town
7. Taylor's Waltz
8. Silence or Tears
9. The Family Who Prays
10. Hard Times
11. I Don't Believe You'd Do Me Wrong
12. Jessie's Tune
13. Polka on a Banjo
14. Midnight Special
JESSIE BAKER - banjo & vocals