HEAR SOME MUSIC: https://erickbaker.bandcamp.com/
SEE A VIDEO: https://youtu.be/lxkfeqrq7As
If you had told me when I graduated from the University of Tennessee in the summer of 2001 that I would end up making a living as a singer-songwriter and a television show host, I wouldn't have believed you. My degree was in public relations; I didn't have a background in music, unless you count singing in the congregation on Sundays. Amazingly though, as it turns out, you would've been right.
I didn’t grow up singing or playing music. I’ve never had voice lessons, and I taught myself how to play guitar. With my music, I’ve always relied on passion instead of skill. The first song I learned to play was “Straight to Hell” by Drivin' 'N' Cryin'. (My mom and dad were so proud.) My performing career began on an apartment balcony in South Knoxville, playing for friends and random people passing by, which soon led to playing cover shows at local bars and restaurants. I was 23 when I wrote my first song, in the summer of 2002.
The first time I seriously considered pursuing a career in music was on May 9, 2007, after opening up for John Legend at Knoxville's Tennessee Theatre. At the time, I was in graduate school, working on a master’s degree in English.
A local promoter heard me perform at a songwriter showcase a few weeks earlier and, remarkably, offered me the gig. I went from performing in a noisy bar for 15 people who could care less to a sold-out theatre of 1,500 who intently listened to every word I sang. The guy that walked on stage that night wasn’t the same guy that walked off. One set, six songs in just thirty minutes, changed my life forever.
Since releasing my debut EP, It’s Getting Too Late To Say It’s Early, in 2008, I’ve played over 1,000 shows, performed in front of crowds over 10,000 people, shared a tour bus with Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, and heard the sound of a sold-out theater singing one of my songs in unison back to me. I’ve been able to share the stage with amazing artists like James Blunt, Gavin DeGraw, Marc Broussard, Edwin McCain, the Goo Goo Dolls, Grace Potter, Brandi Carlile and Heart. I’ve played for the U.S. troops stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as tours in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, performing for our men and women in uniform stationed overseas.
Music has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. It’s taken me to parts of the world I would have never seen and connected me with people I would have never met. It’s given my life purpose. Without music, I may have never met the two greatest loves of my life: my wife, Mandy, and my daughter, Annabelle Rose Baker. My songs belong to every right turn and wrong turn that has led me here. They reflect the pieces of poetry hidden in the experiences that lie within each of our everyday lives.
Currently, along with continuing my career in music, I'm pursuing a new adventure, one that's led me back home. I’m proud to say I’ve lived in Tennessee my entire life. However, touring out on the road with my music for the last decade, I’ve only seen it passing by through a windshield. Finally, after all that time away, Tennessee is calling me back where I belong. As the host of the new PBS outdoor television show Tennessee Uncharted, I’m getting the opportunity to rediscover how great my home state is, one adventure at a time. Our lives are full of uncharted places, and this show is all about getting out and exploring them because you never know where they may lead you.
There is always something new to be learned or gained, and every day I uncover a little more about myself. I am so grateful for what I’ve been able to do with just my voice, my words and a wood box with strings. Surprisingly, music has given me so much in my life. It’s allowed me to see the world and, along the way, find the beauty and blessing of home.
The Tall Pines:
HEAR SOME MUSIC: http://thetallpines.bandcamp.com/
SEE A VIDEO: https://youtu.be/i_OUSpH_Rz8
The Tall Pines is a family collaboration of singer Connie Lynn Petruk, and songwriter Christmas Davis, organist Joanna Choy and drummer Robert Brazier. Connie Lynn was born in Edmonton Alberta, and started singing at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo when she was just a little girl. After a few seasons spent entertaining the cowboys in Calgary, she moved to New York to seek her fortune. Christmas was raised with a colorful southern family whose members often find their way into his songs. Growing up, he spent every Sunday attending a Pentecostal church, at the insistence of his mother who was addicted to two things: Jesus, and the tambourine. Joanna packed up her belongings and moved from her California home to New York City to be a political activist. But, she found her calling singing in clubs and coffee houses in Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Lower East Side. This is where she met Connie and Chris, and helped them grow The Tall Pines. Robert Brazier, a mystery to all, showed up late one night at the band’s secret hideaway. Dressed impeccably, but with his hands covered in a strange white chalk, Robert has never offered any explanation for his appearance that night or otherwise.
“With long straight hair falling over sky high cheekbones and a penchant for floor-length dresses Connie Petruk looks like she stepped out of late ‘60s / early ‘70s Nashville and sings like the lost sister of Bobbie Gentry or Dusty Springfield. Her honeyed alto will melt the frost off your windshield, and the band’s confident backing matches her attitude flawlessly. The Tall Pines are equal parts soul and twang, molasses and moonshine, sass and skill."
-- NPR MUSIC
"(The) Tall Pines, a knowing, ass-kicking '70s Nashville revamp fronted by bodacious Connie Lynn Petruk."
-- Richard Gehr: The Village Voice