James Lee Baker and his new album “Home Again”
Country music fans who have been desperate for a hot new sound to revive the dying genre from its creative lull will find that their savior has finally arrived in the form of James Lee Baker and his new album Home Again. Baker has never openly described himself as a straight up country singer, but his music is nevertheless indebted to Nashville’s golden age of recording. Home Again debuted last year to unexpected rampant acclaim and had a surprisingly strong commercial performance for being Baker’s first official full length album, and in the time that has passed since it’s become impossible to deny the album’s impression on the country music scene and beyond. You might not know his name now, but in the next decade James Lee Baker is going to be one of the biggest monikers in all of pop.
Baker’s sound is steeped in the earthiness of Americana and folk music but has a much more western style swing than what’s typically associated with either of the two genres (and also precisely what’s been missing from mainstream country as of late). He’s not shy about wearing his emotions on his sleeve, but there’s a certain reserved ambience to his lyrics that makes us wonder if he isn’t still reveling in his own enigma. Composers have a lot of different ways of expressing themselves when they’ve got as dexterous a palate as Baker does, and none of the ten songs on Home Again contain the same formula in reaching the audience.
One of my favorite tracks from Home Again was the pastoral ballad “That Look in Your Eyes,” which boasts one of the more colorful vocal performances from Baker on the album. There’s regret in his voice and the feeling that it’s taken him a great deal of time to appreciate that hindsight is 20/20, and every ounce of the emotion in his heart is dispatched unto us with the uttering of each word in the song. Baker poses a lot of questions with his lyrics, but in a lot of ways he answers them directly with his music, which seems to compliment the timber of his voice no matter what direction it might be going in. This is an emotionally charged track, but it’s highly representative of the depth that listeners can expect when they pick up a copy of Home Again.
Everyone, from rock critics to country fanatics, has been talking about James Lee Baker recently because of his overwhelmingly versatile sound that seems to appeal to virtually any audience that likes bittersweet melodies. His presence in the indie music scene is impossible to miss, and his status as one of country’s most exciting new artists to watch is being solidified with every recording he releases. To put it simply, James Lee Baker is going places – fast – and if I were a betting man I would wager everything I’ve got that by the time 2020 rolls around he’s going to be one of the biggest and more lucrative players in this industry. If you need proof, give Home Again a spin as soon as possible.