If you’re from East Tennessee, call yourself a fan of music, and haven’t heard of Erick Baker, believe me, you haven’t heard real music. I know that’s kind of a dramatic statement, but it’s true.
I first heard Erick Baker a pretty long time ago when my friend, Amy, burned (shhh… don’t tell! Actually, he knows..) me copies of the albums he had out at the time. I listened to them and thought his music was something I could live without, and I did live without it for quite some time.. and now, well, I can’t imagine that. Again, with the dramatic.. but I can’t figure out any other way to explain it.. just how incredible Erick really is.
So after I came home from China last year, Amy got me to go with her and her husband to his concert at the Bijou in August. And I have to say, I still wasn’t all that convinced. Sure, the Knoxville crowd loved him, and he had some good songs, but he was hyper. I don’t think there was one time that he was actually still.. he was always jumping, walking, whatever.. he was moving the entire time he was on stage.
And then we did the obligatory meet and greet after the show. He was super nice.. like he hugged me and told me thank you for coming, signed my ticket and took a picture with me.
So that was that.. a really nice, jumpy, hyper musician who had some pretty good songs.
The next day I went to this huge outdoor event in Knoxville because a band (Seabird) I really liked was going to be there. As I was walking around, I saw a familiar face. Erick Baker was walking right towards me. He remembered me, hugged me and thanked me again for coming the night before. He was as nice as he could be.. and we even chatted for a few minutes, and then he had to go and sing on stage with his church group.
Ok.. this guy’s growing on me.
Meanwhile, I moved to the Nashville area because I’m a huge music fan, and most of my favorite musicians are in Nashville, so I thought it would be a great idea to move and get involved as best I could.
I started selling merch for any musician who would let me, and I noticed one day that Erick was going to be playing one night at 3rd & Lindsley in early December, so I emailed him and asked if I could sell his merch for him. He said yes.
That night sold me. Sold. me. Let me tell you why.
When I got there, he was kind of running around, but when he saw me he stopped and hugged me and said thank you to me. He went and got the merch from his car, brought it in, hugged me and told me how to go about selling it.. and then he hugged me. I’m sure I missed a hug in that description, so just imagine a person giving you almost constant hugs.
So he played his songs after his opener, Callaghan, and then came back to the merch table to meet and greet. I’m sure he hugged me when he got back there. There were a couple of girls there who kept telling me how much they loved him, and it was pretty hilarious. They kept him (and me) there til 3rd & Lindsley asked us to leave. When saying goodbye, he hugged and kissed me on the cheek. Ok, who does that? Erick Baker. He’s the most affectionate person to random people that I’ve ever met. And I enjoyed every minute of it.. especially when the two girls were watching him kiss me. ha.
I finally saw the obvious.. he’s got talent. And heart. Lots of heart.
And he’s come back to Nashville a couple of times since then, and each time I’ve been there to sell his merch and/or support him. Each time he’s given me something free and hugged and hugged and hugged me.
And each time I’ve seen him perform, I’ve been impressed. He’s got stage presence. He brings it. But Nashville isn’t his comfort zone.. he’s still trying to make himself known to this area.
Which brings me back to the beginning: If you’re from East Tennessee, call yourself a fan of music, and haven’t heard of Erick Baker, believe me, you haven’t heard real music.
I went back with my friend, Amy, to the Bijou Theater on Saturday, August 25, 2012 to watch Erick perform. It was incredible. He started things off out in the aisle singing “My Two Left Feet”, and I watched the whole thing from the seats right beside where he and Donnie Reis were standing. I didn’t stop smiling.
Watching Erick play in Knoxville is a completely different experience than watching him in Nashville. In Knoxville, he talked to the audience like he personally knew every single person there, gave advice, spoke motivationally (I don’t think that’s actually a word, but you know what I mean) and sang his HUGE heart out. He got a little emotional during it all, and everyone just cheered and watched him with love in their hearts. Nashville doesn’t get that side of Erick, and we are missing out.
So please, heed my words and listen to the guy. If you’re like me when you first hear it, give him another chance.. and another and another.. keep giving him chances until you realize just how talented and wonderfully gifted Erick is. You won’t regret it. Trust me. I don’t.