IMPRESSIVE ARRAY OF GUESTS ON BAKER’S NEW ALBUM

The new album by Irish singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player Don Baker features guest appearances by an impressive array of Irish performers singing Baker’s own songs.

The album, entitled My Songs, My Friends, will be released on September 6, 2013, on Baker’s own label. The star-studded line-up of guests includes Damien Dempsey, Eleanor McEvoy, Liam O Maonlai, Brian Kennedy, Gemma Hayes, Finbar Furey, John Spillane, Mick Pyro, Clara Rose, Rob Strong, Pat Collins, Martin Furey, Paddy Casey and Declan O’Rourke. There are also three live bonus tracks recorded by Baker at The Olympia.

As Baker himself explains about the genesis of his album, “Normally I put a lot of thought into planning my albums, but My Songs, My Friends took on a life of its own, as if some spiritual force was guiding me through it. It actually started after I accidentally met the superb singer Clara Rose in a music shop. Having been much taken by her solo album I invited her to record one of my songs with me. Studio engineer Stuart Gray was so impressed with the result that he suggested I invite others in to sing my songs. One by one they all agreed, and it became a tremendously uplifting experience for me. That such talented people would give so generously of their time was an experience I’ll never forget”.

While Baker is already acknowledged as one of the top blues harmonica players in the world, another key feature of My Songs, My Friends is the quality of his guitar playing and the range and depth of his songwriting. ‘Woe To The Holy Vow’, sung by Damien Dempsey, is Baker’s response to the clerical sex abuse scandal, while there’s a suave gospel elegance to ‘Lord Have Mercy’, a duet by Eleanor McEvoy and Brian Kennedy. ‘Politician’, featuring John Spillane, castigates our politicians, while ‘Maureen’, sung by Baker himself, is a touching love song a la Mark Knopfler.

At the close of the upbeat ‘Little Rock’n’Roll Band’, Finbar Furey sings, “Come on, Don, write me one more song.” That sentiment superbly encapsulates the esteem in which Baker is held in by fans and musicians alike.

My Songs, My Friends will be released on Don’s own label. Don Baker is exclusively represented by AMA Music Call + 353 1 201 3660 or info@amamusicagency.ie

DON BAKER

Don Baker was born in Whitehall, Dublin in 1950, but by the time he was in his early teens he was already showing his natural talent on the harmonica and guitar.
Living in the Corporation Buildings in inner-city Dublin he was attracted to blues music, and by 1973 he was playing all over Germany, Austria, Holland and France, earning a living from the music he not only loved, but was supremely proficient at. He spent a decade on the road, paying his dues, travelling on trains, and sleeping on floors.
Don became a significant Irish musical figure in 1979 when he was invited by the Late Late Show to compose a song about inner city Dublin. ‘Dublin’s Inner City’ was the outcome, and the version by The Jolly Beggarmen reached No. 2 in the Irish charts.

Over the years since then, Baker has built a solid reputation as a singer, guitarist, harmonica player and songwriter. Many of his own compositions offer disarmingly honest reflections on aspects of his own life and personality, and he has openly spoken of his deeply spiritual approach to life and people.
He has recorded several acclaimed albums, including Almost Illegal, Born With the Blues, Duckin’ & Divin’, Miss You, No Regrets Live in Concert, Born With the Blues, Just Don Baker, No Nonsense and Rain On The Wind. His DVD/video releases include Don Baker Live and Don Baker In Profile.
Mark Feltham (who has played with Oasis, Joe Cocker and Rory Gallagher) rates him as the greatest acoustic harmonica player in the world, and similar acclaim has come his way from both Nashville session musician Charlie McCoy and U2’s Bono. He has written several instruction books for harmonica players, and several tutor videos. The esteem with he is viewed on the international circuit is shown by the fact that he is a regular adjudicator for the World Harmonica Championships (blues section).
Baker’s harmonica influences include blues legends Sonny Boy Williamson and Sonny Terry, as well as the afore-mentioned McCoy who recorded Baker’s composition, ‘Jordanna’. His guitar playing was, by his own admission, inspired by Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Blake and Robert Johnson, but others also see the influence of more modern players of the calibre of JJ Cale and Mark Knopfler.

Baker made his screen debut in 1993 in the film In The Name of The Father directed by Jim Sheridan, and starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson. He also appeared in Mia, Liebe Meines Lebens in 1998 with Claudia Cardinale, and in 2001’s On The Nose with Dan Ackroyd and Robbie Coltrane. Don recently picked Best Supporting Actor at the 14th Melbourne Underground Film Festival, which premiered his “apocalyptic crime thriller” The Late Men, from director Van Poynton. The film’s title sequence – featuring Don’s electrifying harmonica – was nominated for Excellence in Title Design in SXSW, Texas, 2013.