A classically trained musician, James Lee Baker fuses influences from acoustic singer-songwriters like David Mead, Ellis Paul, John Gorka, Gregory Alan Isakov, Bob Dylan, and Slaid Cleaves. He embraces open tunings to create an unconventional but welcoming sound and timbre to his playing. Trained briefly by Richard Gilewitz, a renowned fingerstyle guitar player, James Lee’s fingerstyle guitar playing is rich and melodic, pulling listeners into memorable motifs and atmospheres. James is a Billboard Magazine Emerging Artist with a Top 15 Roots Music Report chart hit, “Cowtown Blues.” His most recent single, “Disappear for the Weekend” reached the iTunes Top 5, while charting on several radio airplay charts…
Indie Pulse Music: Thanks for taking the time, James. Please tell us about your latest album, “Home Again.”
James Lee Baker: “Home Again” is a collection of songs written in the last few years and inspired by the Texas Americana sound. I wanted to create songs that would fit well in the pocket of film and TV and be radio friendly while still sounding authentic and lyrically charged.
IPM: Your current single, “Disappear for the Weekend” has done very well on the iTunes singles chart, and is even crossing over on the country radio charts. What do you attribute that to?
JLB: My manager at MTS Management has been instrumental in helping me get the right exposure through playlists, interviews, social media. The song itself is a catchy tune and I think much of the songwriting and editing has helped to hone that.
IPM: Rumor has it that you will be teaming up with glam rock band Love Stallion, for a recording session. How did that unlikely match come about?
JLB: Aaron Hart, the lead singer of Love Stallion, is a great friend of mine. I’m contributing as a lyricist on his upcoming singles to pack some detailed punch into his already glorious and tasteful ideas. We’re working on a western-themed rock song that is one big giant entendre; I will be narrating during the breakdown.
IPM: If there was one band that you would have loved to be in, aside from your current situation, what band would that be, and why?
JLB: I suppose The Wallflowers. Jakob Dylan is such a great songwriter and the band does a great job of performing tastefully.
IPM: How is the music scene in Denver? Any live shows coming up for you?
JLB: The music scene here is growing steadily. There are a number of venues here for acoustic artists and the house concert/listening room scene is pretty solid as well. I will be performing in May at The Wildflower Music Festival in Richardson, TX. I also have a house concert in August and a show in TX in October. Beyond that, i’m heads down in the writing and recording process.
IPM: Any touring plans? Where would you most like to perform?
JLB: I’m heads down on the writing and recording process so I don’t anticipate any tours until after the upcoming album release early next year. There are a number of prominent Folk venues I would love to perform at including Club Passim in Cambridge, MA, Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA, Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse in Dallas, TX, and City Winery in Nashville and NYC.
IPM: What has been the highlight of your music career so far?
JLB: Being selected as a finalist in The Wildflower Music Festival’s Al Johnson Songwriting Contest. I’ve also really enjoyed opening up for artists like Ellis Paul and Vance Gilbert.
IPM: What advice would you have to offer a young musician, just getting started in the business?
JLB: Be open to feedback! Art is your gift to the world. We make art for people, not just for ourselves. The feedback will only help you make better art so don’t take it personally.
IPM: Any plans for a follow up album to “Home Again,” and if so, when do you think you’ll have that ready?
JLB: Yes, I’ve recorded seven songs and am working on writing a few more to create an LP that should be released in the next 6-9 months. This project is being recorded with the best people in the industry and is turning out to be my favorite project yet! Stay tuned!
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