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david baxter

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
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"day & age Globe and Mail review"

The Globe and Mail, January 20, 2009

Print Edition 20/01/09 Page R3
DAY and AGEDavid BaxterIndependent***1/2''Summer was sweet,'' sings
broken-hearted realist David Baxter, ''but it's gone.'' The lament
could easily serve as a subtitle for the debut album from the
long-time Toronto musician and producer. Melancholic tunes are
sturdily written and pleasantly arranged - fans of Willie Nelson or
Kenny Rogers should be fans of Baxter, who has had his soul shattered,
yet manages to beckon the honey-sweet voices of Treasa Levasseur, Jenn
Grant and Catherine MacLellan. Grant gorgeously hovers just out of
reach on top track Meet Me in the Willow Grove, which would have been
a modest hit 35 years ago. It's a sad record, but this occasion
(long-time sideman Baxter triumphs in his first solo effort) is
uplifting. In this Day and Age, you can't ask for more. B.W.





- the Globe and Mail, Toronto


"day & age Exclaim! review"

Exclaim! Magazine, Feb. 2009
David Baxter
Day & Age
By Kerry Doole

David Baxter is something of the unsung hero of the Toronto roots
music scene. He found a degree of new wave fame with the Sharks in the
'80s and has since been active as both a guitarist and producer of
real skill. He has had a long creative partnership with Lori Yates
(one tune they recorded together in Hey Stella, "Do You Think Of Me,"
is reprised successfully here), played a key role in the career of
Justin Rutledge and produced albums by the likes of Bob Snider and
Treasa Levasseur. Long overdue, he steps into the solo spotlight with
his debut album, Day & Age. Levasseur and Rutledge provide
instrumental and vocal accompaniment, Brian Kobayakawa (Creaking Tree
String Quartet) plays bass and Baxter shines on guitar, mandolin,
banjo and harmonium. An impressive list of comrades make subtle
cameos, including Jenn Grant, Burke Carroll, Old Man Luedecke,
Catherine MacLellan, Ron Sexsmith, Blake Manning and Paul Reddick.
Grant's harmony vocal on the lovely "Meet Me In The Willow Grove" is a
standout, while a massed female chorus on "Marching Into Glory" gives
it a folk/gospel feel. This is a sombre, melancholy, reflective album,
with Baxter ruminating on the passage of time and loves past and
present. He cites Willie Nelson as an inspiration for the sound of
this all-acoustic record, while his understated and laconic vocal
delivery is occasionally reminiscent of Ian Tyson. It is especially
effective on the affecting title track, a seven-minute tune that
closes out this highly impressive work. (Proper Channels)

- Exclaim! magazine, Toronto


"Greg Quill, The Toronto Star, April 28, 2009"

David Baxter and his band hit the Dakota stage tonight, those who remember him from his days with David Wilcox's Teddy Bears, or as the guitar-slinging sidekick for country rockers Lori Yates and Justin Rutledge, can be forgiven for not knowing what to expect.

For starters, Baxter's not backing anyone. He'll be front and centre, singing his heart out.

After some 30 years as a sideman and behind-the-stars, award-winning songwriter and producer – his tasty licks, compositions and production/engineering skills have embellished the work of dozens of Canadian artists, including The Sharks, Juno-winner Sherry Kean, Alanis Morissette, Lori Yates, Wild Strawberries, Oh Susanna, the Northern Pikes, Bob Snider, The Undesirables, Michael Laderoute and Rutledge – the self-deprecating veteran of Toronto's roots music scene has decided to step into the spotlight with his first solo album, the just-released acoustic country-folk gem Day & Age.

"I ran out of excuses not to do this," Baxter told the Star. "I have the studio (his own home recording facility, Knob & Tube), I have the songs, and after the break-up of a long relationship, I have the heartache."

What's perhaps most surprising about Baxter's long overdue debut is that it's his voice, and not his singularly evocative electric guitar work, that carries these gentle, three-chord originals, all of them imbued with the same weary sorrow that defines his most expressive guitar solos.

Day & Age has the organic, home-made feel of a long-ago session captured in some Texas saloon after closing time, when the lights are down and the truth just can't be avoided.

Contributors comprise a mini-who's who of the nation's top-end roots music roster – singers Ron Sexsmith, Yates, Catherine MacLellan and Jenn Grant, harmonica player Paul Reddick, banjoist Old Man Luedecke, pedal steel guitarist Burke Carroll, and fiddler Soozi Schlanger.

"I would have done it years ago, but I never thought my voice had enough weight to sing over a full band," Baxter explained. "But when I'm sitting around at home, playing my old Martin acoustic, these songs sound just fine, so that's the way I wanted to record them.

"I just hit the record button on my computer, ran downstairs and started singing and strumming. No one was at the controls ... all the recording was done live."

For tonight's gig, because the Dakota's stock-in-trade is live music you can dance to, the core band that performed on Day & Age – Baxter, accordionist Treasa Lavasseur, guitarist Rutledge and bassist Brian Kobayakawa – will be augmented by drummer Gary Craig.

"We'll be playing louder than usual, and I'm throwing in a few more up-tempo things as well," said Baxter, who's taking his bag of songs out east soon, and hoping to pick up some folk festival dates across Canada in the summer.

"Booking gigs isn't my strong suit. I'm hoping to go the festival route. I'm no good at plugging myself on the phone ... it's unseemly at my age. I wouldn't mind if I was young and frisky."

With a tight schedule of production work for other artists, Baxter's not aching to hit the road indefinitely any time soon. Apart from a gig at the Horseshoe May 28 with Manitoba songwriter Romi Mayes, he's not sure what's in the immediate future, performance-wise, which makes tonight's show all the more special.

"I've never done the things people say I should," Baxter said. "You can get stuck that way.

"I'm a great believer in chaos. Chaos will take care of me."

Just the facts
WHO: David Baxter & Friends


WHEN: Tonight, 9 p.m.

WHERE: The Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave.

TICKETS: $5 at the door




- The Toronto Star


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

David Baxter: Day & Age Bio

David Baxter is a lifer. Journeyman guitarist, award winning songwriter and producer, he has been writing, performing and producing music since childhood. His first gig was conducting the Kindergarten Rhythm Band at a PTA meeting. He has been a professional since 1975, receiving his first break as a member of legendary Toronto band David Wilcox and the Teddy Bears. He was married to singer Sherry Kean with whom he shared considerable success , (and a JUNO award) in the 1980’s. He collaborates still with country singer Lori Yates, a partnership that dates back to 1990. He has produced 3 albums for peerless Canadian songwriter Bob Snider. Other productions include records with Yates, Justin Rutledge, Northern Pikes, Treasa Levasseur, The Undesirables, Penny Lang, Michael Laderoute, and a number of others. He won a Juno with Kean, and had seen Juno nominations for Snider and Rutledge albums. He tours as guitarist with Yates, Rutledge and Levasseur. His guitar can be heard weekly on the soundtrack to CTV series, Degrassi: the Next Generation, and on many records as a sideman.

Day & Age is, however, Baxter’s debut album as a singer. In a career of working with great voices, he had always left that job to the experts. “I was politely encouraged to stick to the guitar,” says Baxter, “but I always wrote songs, as a collaborator.” He and Yates saw a translation of one of their songs reach #1 in Quebec, and a Kean co-write was named country song of the year by the CMPA. “Besides music, the one thing I’ve spent a lifetime doing is trying to get a relationship right. Day & Age is a collection of songs about that. About two years ago, my mother passed away, and I suffered a very painful breakup. In the aftermath, I put together my studio, Knob & Tube, found a great old Martin guitar, and I was writing simple, broken-hearted country songs. I love those traditional forms. They’re so trustworthy. Ranging from 2 months to 20 years old, these songs seemed to hang together as a group” says Baxter. “I set out to make a Willie Nelson record, basically, but had to make do with the singer I had. It’s a sad record, but it’s true.” The album is all-acoustic, which may surprise some who are familiar with Baxter’s signature electric guitar style. “It’s how I play and sing at home,” he says.

The band on Day & Age consists of Baxter, Justin Ruteldge, Treasa Levasseur, and Creaking Tree String Quartet bassist Brian Kobayakawa, live off the floor. “We recorded very quickly. We didn’t even wear headphones. I added a few overdubs later, but only a few.” Guests include Ron Sexsmith, Lori Yates, Catherine MacLellan, Jenn Grant, Paul Reddick, Old Man Luedecke, Burke Carroll, and Soozi Schlanger, of Swamperella. “It wasn’t easy to finally step up to the mic, but these are my friends, and I’d worked with all of them already”, says Baxter. “It was a very supportive environment for a “ new” singer.”

Day & Age was produced and engineered by Baxter at Knob & Tube in Toronto, and mixed by long-time friend Harvey Goldberg , chief audio engineer at Late Show with David Letterman, at the Meat Locker in New York. Peter Moore of the E Room in Toronto handled the mastering. The album features cover art by Bob Snider.

Day & Age will be released in November 2008 with tour dates to be announced.