Nate Baker
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Nate Baker

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Brooklyn, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo Folk Americana




"Nate Baker Conjures Up Comparisons to Country Greats"

When you’re mentioned in the same breath as the Sturgill Simpsons and Chris Stapletons of the world, you know you’re doing something right. Nate Baker is making all the right music these days as he records his new EP, drawing comparisons to country-tinged greats along the way. As he prepares to release 4 on 10, we asked Nate about such musical parallels and recording at Tiny Telephone.

You recorded at Tiny Telephone. Did you record with John [Vanderslice] or someone else?

I’ve recorded at Tiny a number of times over the years but never with JV. He’s usually around though. He works tirelessly. I did one session, this was 2007, with Aaron Prellwitz, who worked on some Mark Kozelek albums. Mostly I’ve worked with Jamie Riotto. He’s done both my records and all of Cazadero’s records. I play bass in Cazadero.

How did you find Tiny Telephone in the first place?

I lived in San Francisco for a long time and Tiny is hard to miss if you’re in a band. It feels like home field to me at this point, like family.

When people mention Sturgill Simpson and the like in reference to your music, do you agree? Is that the sort of artist you enjoy yourself?

I agree that our record collections probably have a lot of overlap. And obviously it’s nice to be compared to someone with his success and talent but I don’t put too much stock in comparisons. He’s got a fantastic live band and I appreciate where he’s coming from lyrically — two things that I aspire to.

How are these new songs coming out compared to the songs on One Day In May? Do they feel comfortably close, musically speaking?

We had a lot of fun in the studio and I think it’s evident in how the recordings turned out. When you can be loose and focused at the same time that’s ideal. One Day in May was also fun to make but we worked on it over many months while 4 on 10 came together in a weekend.

Are these newer songs you’ve written since your last album or are these songs you’ve had for some time?

Two songs are newer and two are older. I chose these based on the band I was able to assemble on short notice. Fortunately, Jason Slota was available to play drums. We both lived in Bloomington, Indiana and have known each other for years. Jamie Riotto engineered and played bass. He should really get producer credits because he brings so many big picture ideas to the process. Nate Cavalieri and I go way back. He’s so versatile and has done more to shape my songs over the years than anyone. Incidentally our fathers have the same first name too.

Some fans can host an acoustic house show. Do you enjoy those sorts of intimate environments? Is it ever awkward when it’s that close and personal?

My stuff tends to be pretty heart-on-the-sleeve, so I’m in my element with intimate settings. For One Day In May, we did a record release show at a place in the Mission where a married couple have built a venue in the warehouse where they live complete with a small stage, lights and sound. It was perfect. - Pledge Music

"Four Acts to Explode Your Weekend"

For fans of: Dawes, Sturgill Simpson, Willie Nelson, Into the Wild style Eddie Vedder

The San Francisco artist, Nate Baker, has an old soul and a patient heart. His country-tinged music plays out like a mix between Willie Nelson and Eddie Vedder. On “Better When You Were Blue”, the artist even throws a jazz type solo in the mix for good measure. His LP One Day in May is as fun as it is genuine with songs that beautifully carry the listener through popular country themes – pints, broken hearts, and tear soaked nights – all the while bringing something creative and heartfelt to a genre that is in desperate need. Listening to the vinyl release he graciously sent us, made me simultaneously want to smile and cry. Nate is everything great about singer songwriters and it doesn’t hurt that he recently played shows with the great Jessica Lea Mayfield. - Ear to the Ground Music

"Mid-March Roundup"

“For those who’ve gone the Sturgill Simpson / Chris Stapleton route and decided that full-on country music is alright by you, add Nate Baker to your list. This one’s a traditional tears-in-your-beer ballad that wouldn’t feel out of place with The Louvin Brothers or Roy Orbison” - Independent Clauses

"An Interview with Nate Baker"

Today, we are speaking with Nate Baker, who has just released 4 on 10. Can you give us a little background information about yourself? How did you get into music?

I grew up in front of MTV when it was just music videos and can remember writing silly songs as kid complete with elaborate video treatments. About age 15 I began learning the guitar and not long after I started playing in garage bands. All heart, little skill! My first job was in a record store and I’ve worked in music, one way or another, since.

What was the writing/creative and recording process for the release like? What is the significance of the EP’s title

There isn’t much nuance to the title. It’s a 10” vinyl record with four songs on it. But I did just turn 40 so it’s a kindof a victory lap for the years I’ve been around.

You recorded 4 on 10 at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. What about the recordings on the EP can one pull out and say that they were influenced by recording at TT?

The songs were chosen specifically around the musicians who were available for the sessions. Jason Slota is an incredible rock drummer so I chose some bigger, driving tunes. Nate Cavalieri is a talented multi-instrumentalist and he keeps his vibraphone at Tiny Telephone. I brought “Sarah Says” in because I thought vibes would sound good on that song.

How is San Francisco different from Indianapolis musically and culturally? How does Haight-Asbury compare to Broadripple?

Indy is far from a backwater. There is and was a healthy original music scene there. I spent a lot of Friday nights in Broad Ripple standing outside The Patio and The Vogue listening to bands through the walls because I wasn’t old enough to get in. The Village Idiot coffee shop was among the first places I ever performed my songs.

What does your recording set up look like (what do you use to record, what are your favorite tools)?

Tiny Telephone is an analog studio and making records in that way is its own ethos. It doesn’t allow for a lot of fixing so you better nail the performance. I like that method because it narrows your choices. Too much choice can be problematic.

The era of digital music is upon us, but the vinyl release of 4 on 10 should be sought out. How are you making the visuals, lyrics, and music into a cohesive release?

Vinyl is the one historically durable music format. It’s been with us for 100 years while other formats have come and gone. I’m not at all sentimental about sound quality but I do enjoy vinyl for its thing-ness. A lot of young people are discovering that too. My new record has a gatefold sleeve so it opens like a book with the lyrics inside.

What does the rest of 2017 hold for you?

A lot of people are cynical but I feel energized by the political atmosphere. Here’s an opportunity to dedicate oneself to social justice and progressive action. The left has been too complacent and I hope to contribute where I can.

You have a Pledgemusic up to raise money / pre-order the 4 on 10 EP. What can our readers expect from the Pledgemusic profile?

They can see me walk on a remote beach in New Zealand! It’s called the Farewell Spit, which is a fantastic name. They’ll also get access to my updates. Things like song demos and music videos.

You are giving some fraction of your proceeds from the sale of the 4 on 10 EP to Musicians on Call. What does the charity do and why should others donate to their organization?

One of the reasons I love Pledge is that they earmark part of the money raised in each project for a charity of the artists’ choosing. Mine is Musicians on Call, who brings live music to hospital patients. I’ve played a lot of gigs over the years but have never felt so good as after playing for folks in the hospital. It really does make a huge difference for them.

Thank you so much for your time. Finally, do you have any additional thoughts about life and the universe for our readers?

Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity. My advice is to question the things that you read. Even if it doesn’t seem sponsored it’s probably sponsored by someone or something with an agenda. Try to find media that is largely free of ad dollars. - Neufutur

"Review of Ensounds (2002)"

"Invested with a quiet grace and emotional power." - Bloomington Herald-Times (Indiana)


2002 - Ensounds, full length album (self-released)
2004 - "Hey Sue" b/w "Bloody Breathitt" 7" (self-released)
2012 - Dusk for Dawn, with Cazadero (self-released)
2013 - Old Friends, with Cazadero (self-released) 
2014 - Domestic Refugee, with Cazadero (self-released)
2015 - One Day In May LP (self-released)
2017 - 4 on 10 EP



Nate has shared the stage with Ron Sexsmith, Tim Easton, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Daniel Bachman AA Bondy, Shearwater, Jesca Hoop, Liza Anne, Marisa Anderson among many others.

"An old soul with a patient heart Baker's country-tinged music plays out like a mix between Willie Nelson and Eddie Vedder." -- Ear to the Ground

"For those of you who have gone the Sturgill Simpson route add Nate Baker to your list." -- Independent Clauses

"Invested with a quiet grace and emotional power" -- Bloomington Herald-Times

Band Members