I found myself engaged in his song “ Highway Prayer “ with its arpeggiated acoustic guitar moving at a rapid pace against an ethereal sea of guitar-effect pads in the far background. It is soothing but not to the point of becoming a new-age meditation track by any means. The words of the poem are beautiful but sung softly so as to not be in your face unless you chose for them to be. Then I start getting into Baker’s head and his thought process as a producer; why he chose this, why that was left out – and realize the sheer artistry of the man.
There are several tracks on this CD that I really like for different reasons but most of all I favor the consistency that has Sherman Baker’s own brand in every melody, poem, arrangement and production. If I were to pick a personal favorite it would have to be We Grow Old because this song is sparse and quirky with it’s up-stoke rhythm and just a single voice setting the stage and slowly building the story. It then blooms like a sunflower of brightness and color with the drums and other instruments, criss-cross harmonies cascading and of course, that killer little slightly de-tuned upright piano that gives it a little Abbey Road charm. I don’t know that Mr. Baker is consciously channeling some Mr. Lennon or not, but it’s a very pleasant, touching and subliminal tribute to the man, or at least a style that the Fab One brought to the world so long ago with his Liverpool mates. So whatever the reason or motivation this is a great song!
Sherman Baker has proved in this self-titled release that he is a songwriter of substance and a very capable musician that I don’t always find combined in the music of today. See, I kind of think there are singers, songwriters, singer-songwriters and then a few of us other weirdo’s who not only want to paint the picture, we want to go to the store and mix the paint ourselves, maybe even make the canvas so that when the song is completed it’s our baby. There’s no one else to consult or to blame. When a record turns out this good though, we deserve to take a longer bow !
Bruce J Maier
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