The 1960's gave us Donovan, a singer-songwriter with just his guitar and a head full of meaningful lyrics, a soft voice and a gentle view on life. This formula has been repeated, over and over from Nick Drake to Passenger and many other musical wordsmiths who have given us their tunes produced with minimal distraction, enhancing their message. Michael Baker has further developed this genre with his latest album Dust & Bone. Life on the road gives you time to think and reflect and Michael has been doing just that. By travelling around Europe and living in his van he has had the freedom to stop wherever he chooses and take in the atmosphere. The album also features collaborations with various musicians he has met on his travels.
The Steady & The Stuck, the lead single from the album is song about breaking away from the commotion if you can, and keep on going if you can't. It's a strong and powerful album opener and one of the first contradictory tales on the album. Half My Love continues these themes with the compromises in a romance with a typically expressive acoustic folk song. The title track featuring the distinctive vocals of Georgia Mason is one of the most dynamic tracks, enhanced by the perfect vocal pairing of Mason and Baker.
The music itself requires a thoughtful listener – don't expect the albums themes to jump out at you the first time round. There are some beautiful, tranquil melodies here which lead you into a false sense of security. Tracks like Slowly, Some Kind and Anywhere Anytime Soon uncover further meanings on every enthralling listen.
Baker has managed to follow in the footsteps of the other great British singer-songwriters in his ability to write clever lyrics, construct memorable melodies and wrap them all up in raw emotion. His simplistic style puts his music right at the heart of any subject he chooses. With the open road in front of him, who knows where the next musical adventure will take him.
Groupie Raiting 3/5