Rachel Baiman
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Rachel Baiman

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Americana Acoustic

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"Guest Review: Kate Logsdon on Rachel Baiman"

Rachel Baiman is a Midwest grown, Nashville based singer, songwriter, composer, banjo/fiddle player. Growing up in Illinois, she won numerous awards for her fiddle playing, eventually winning Illinois State Fiddle Champion at age 17. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University with degrees in Anthropology and Music. Her music reflects these loves that she has for culture and skill. She loves that deep southern country-bluegrass–completing a great amount of research and work in this area, and she took a semester during college to study Scottish music traditions in Edinburgh. Rachel teaches violin, runs fiddle camps, and tours with two other musical groups–Ten String Symphony (a duo with Christian Sedelmyer), and Canadian folk band Oh My Darling. If she doesn’t seem amazing enough yet, we have great news–she has released a solo album.

Her first solo album, Speakeasy Man is truly a work of art. It is a reflection of Rachel’s skill, intelligence, and passion. I loved this album. It was recorded half in Scotland and half in Nashville and brings elegant technique home to raw Americana. The result is beautiful and emotive.



The title track, “Speakeasy Man”, was written by fellow fiddler Lucy Cochran. It’s a banjo song with fiddle dancing gracefully through harmonies and the spaces in between verses. Beautiful work. It’s an anthem to youth and hardship, working hard and growing up. It makes your hands and feet tap without permission.

“Anna Jane” was written by Rachel and Christian Sedelmyer– her partner in Ten String Symphony. It’s a song about a girl who brings life and grace to the places she goes. She represents love, giving purpose to the hopeless and renewing life to the downtrodden. She’s “like the rain, where she goes there’s life again.” Isn’t that what love does? Renews and refreshes, brings life. It’s a quiet and peaceful melody, banjo driven with strong rhythms. The Scottish and Southern influences are prominent in this sweet hopeful song.

There are a few purely instrumental pieces on this album: “Arrival of the Kiwis”, “The Tortoise and the Hare/Pinnacle Ridge”, “Thank You, Liz Carroll”, “Dog in the Making”, and “Nancy’s Waltz”. Each one is written, at least in part, by Rachel herself. Each one is a prime example of exactly what fiddlework should sound like. Beautiful, beautiful melodies and harmonies. The Scottish influence reigns supreme here, without being overbearing. These songs take you back to a time when people danced in the streets and sang in the fields. Maybe those times only exist in kids’ movies, but wherever and whenever they are, they were beautiful times and this is the soundtrack to them. If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be “The Tortoise and the Hare/Pinnacle Ridge”–very simple, so elegant, incredibly moving. It feels like a mountain breeze then gently guides you to a festival where hundreds of people wearing bright colors are dancing in cobblestone streets.

“See That My Grave is Kept Clean” is a classic Blind Lemon Jefferson song. Rachel has taken it over and re-molded it from blues to bluegrass. She keeps the same basic melody, but adds a distinct Americana flavor. It’s soulful, harmonious, anthemic, the banjo picking is quick and beautiful. Her voice is clear with just a hint of sexy raspiness to it. It’s a quite different sound than the other tracks on this album. It’s a song about preparing for death and conjures images of funeral pyres next to deep southern bayous, but don’t let that turn you off–it is a truly beautiful song presented with great skill.

The song I needed the most on this album was “Winter’s Come and Gone”. I like winter but by this time of year, everyone north of the Mason-Dixon has got a bit of the February blues. “Winter’s Come and Gone” is a Gillian Welch song. This is a song about birds and spring time, the end of winter, being cold and spent and then redbirds start coming to the windowsill and telling us that winter is gone. Rachel has taken a beautiful country song by a great artist and made it classy! She’s added bright fiddle and banjo, and tight vocal harmonies. It gives me hope that it won’t be long until those red birds are at my windowsill. “So long now I’ve been out in the rain and snow, but winter’s come and gone. A little bird told me so.”

You should look into this album. It is top of the line. This girl is smart, talented, skillful, and interesting. She makes music that is unique and complex. I love her sound. Buy this album and play it in your car, or for your next dinner party. It’s a great treatment for winter blues and a perfect addition to more pleasant weather. - eartothegroundmusic.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

“Rachel, a former Illinois fiddle champion with a dark sense of humor, seemed to be going on adrenaline after a cold hit her on the road and those of us lucky enough to wander into this free concert witnessed a goose-bump-instigating talent that reminded me of a young Gillian Welch or Joy Williams (Civil Wars).”

-Z. N. Lupetin, The Bluegrass Situation

Rachel Baiman is a fiddle/banjo player, singer, and composer based out of Nashville, TN.  Specializing in Old Time, Bluegrass, Scottish, and Folk music, her interests are diverse and range from the oldest fiddle traditions to the most innovative of collaborations.

Rachel’s debut album, “Speakeasy Man” is a fusion of Scottish and American folk and fiddle music.  Recorded half in Dunkeld, Scotland, under the production of Matheu Watson, and half in Nashville with Grammy-nominated engineer Erick Jaskowiak, the album explores both traditional and original material in a unique range of settings.

In addition to her solo project, Rachel is currently touring as part of a duo project called 10 String Symphony (with Christian Sedelmyer) and with Winnipeg based folk band Oh My Darling. 10 String Symphony released their debut album November 28th, 2012 and has toured the US extensively in support of the project. 10 String Symphony has been booked for such festivals as ROMP (Owensboro, KY), The Strawberry Music Festival (Yosemite, CA) and the Auckland Folk Festival (Auckland, New Zealand).

In 2012 and 2013, Rachel toured Germany, Belgium, Austria, France and the UK as part of Oh My Darling, and Australia and New Zealand with Nashville based bluegrass quartet: The New Worlds. With these groups she played festivals such as the JamGrass Festival (Melbourne, Australia),and Dorrigo Bluegrass Festival (Dorrigo, Australia), La Roche Bluegrass Festival in France, and the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. In Nashville, she has appeared on the Grand Old Opry with Mike Snyder, and on WSM’s radio show “Coffee, Country, and Cody” with Americana singer-songwriter Kelsey Waldon.

Rachel grew up in the Chicago area, where she accumulated numerous awards in the midwest contest scene, including winning the Illinois State Fiddle Championship at the age of 17. She has a passion for fiddle music of all types, and has most recently been a winner of the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Midwestern Fiddle Championships and the 2nd place winner of The Grand Master Fiddle Championship’s “Traditional Styles” Category (2012).

Rachel is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, Magna Cum Laude, with degrees in Anthropology and Music. At Vanderbilt she was a student of Matt Combs, and immersed herself heavily into the southern old-time fiddle traditions of the United States. Her academic career allowed her to blend her loves for culture and music. In 2011, Rachel received an Undergraduate Research Grant to make transcriptions of music recorded by 1920′s country phenomenon The Skillet Lickers. Rachel also had the opportunity to spend a semester at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she studied Anthropology and Scottish music traditions.

Rachel also enjoys teaching, and runs her own week-long fiddle camp in her hometown of Oak Park, IL (www.oakparfiddlecamp.com). She teaches private lessons in Nashville, TN, and has been an instructor at Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp for the past two years (www.rmfiddle.com).

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