Rob Baird says growing up in Memphis, a city suffused with music, it was impossible not to pick up the guitar as a kid. And later, pilfering his sister's record collection, Tom Petty and band's "don't bore us get to the chorus" aproach to sona structure. melded with Baird's affinity for darker-themed lyrics of Texas writerslike Chris Knight and other legends. On his debut Blue-Eyed Angels out August 31st (Carnival Recording Company), the 23 year-old brings those influences to bear, most notably on the title track, a tale about the emptiness of the world's oldest profession, made lighter with a chorus that jingles.
Heavily touring the southeast and his current home of Texas for the Iast few years, Baird caught the ear of Carnival's Frank Liddell (who helped bring Knight, Miranda Lambert, Bruce Robison and others to
the public) and stepped into the studio with producer Scott Davis.Baird says he writes about emotional fall-out of an imagined story rather than a story itself, and to underscore the guilt of "Blue-Eyed Angels," they used a well-placed 1920s pump organ.
"Could've Been My Baby," a current hit on Texas radio and the first one he wrote for the album -- could be the template for the rest of record. "It's hateful but happy, and dark in a major key," says Baird "Fade Away" was influenced by Petty's "Wildflowers" and the end result is deceptively simple and happy sounding.
Elsewhere, there is love of course, with "Let Me Down Easy," with a bit of country influenced steel-guitar haunting a song he wrote on a drive, and the rolling tempo indeed evokes a long stretch of highway. It's about dating the perfect girl that seems too good to be true -- and in Baird's world, a song with a bit of the dark truth captures a more realistic snapshot of life, but it can be seductively caged.