Two years after putting his backing band The Universal Expressions on hiatus, Scott Baker returns with his fourth solo record and first solely under just his own name. Writing songs between many acoustic shows during the past few years, this electric/eclectic release showcases many different styles over the course of ten tracks, as well as featuring many guest spots.
Together 15 years, drummer Timmy Scott returns to Baker’s side on eight songs and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Bianca Henika help Baker’s arrangements come to life. Harmonies from Henika, Shar Molina (ex-Banana Convention) and Midland native Kimberly Megoran add depth to Baker’s vocals.
Known for his own original brand of rock around the Great Lakes Bay Region, the songs on Community Aspire nestle well together as the styles vary. From singer/songwriter to Americana, blues to straight rocking jams he has been known for, Baker put many different moments into this collection; ‘I Swear’ and ‘Hate To See You Go’ shine brightly with tight penmanship and catchy choruses. Guitar fans will enjoy the guest slots of both Adam Levy (ex-Norah Jones) on the rootsy ‘Good People’ and blues Legend Larry McCray on the blues funker ‘Reality’—as well as even a treat featuring both guitarists playing on the communion track ‘Free Song’-- a vamp that Baker sings with both guitarists and a chorus of guests over the lyric “we can all be free, if we can just be.” On top of Baker, McCray and Levy’s vocals and guitars, are vocalists Brandon Calhoon (Detroit/Nashville/L.A. staple), John Krogman and Mike Robertson (both notable Mid-Michigan artists in their own right), and Saginaw’s Bob Hausler on keyboards, among others. Elsewhere the album features rockers like ‘New Stunt’ and ‘Cult Classic,’ the personal acoustic track ‘The Final Chapter’ (complete with Beach Boys style harmonies from The Legal Matter’s Andy Reed), the mellow rocker ‘Fleeting’, and the epic stand-out album closer ‘Peninsulas’ in which Baker’s taste for stretching out accumulates with a string arrangement from Saginaw’s jazz giant Mike Brush. It ends with Baker’s soaring guitars cresting the songs’ wave.
“A community of musicians helped me out every step of the way during the making of the album. Every time I reached out to see if I could sprinkle some magic on the tracks, I was grateful for each artist that said yes and came through.”
The album was recorded at Harvest Canteen Studio and the final mix and mastering done by Andy Reed at Reed Recording Co.—both in Bay City, MI.
“I truly believe that the power of the people begins in the community. From how we raise our children, to how we stand in solidarity as a whole for the betterment of each other. Love and progress can expand only when we join our neighbors and support our localities. Each song is a piece of the cloth we sew together and each artist that helped out is a close friend and major contributor to our musical art scene. I hope these songs inspire and catch on to spread the word everywhere they are heard.”
Scott has received numerous nominations since 2001 for Mid-Michigan’s Review Magazine Awards (biggest music awards showcase north of Detroit).