Products Used: Clayton Custom Acetal Standard 1.26mm picks.
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Hailing from a musical family, Cleveland native Dave Baker is the grandson of Ruth Baker, who played guitar and sang backup for Roy Rogers. Inheriting her talents, Dave began playing guitar at age eight, and went on to study music composition and theory at Cleveland’s Modern Music School under the tutelage of highly acclaimed composer, arranger (Stan Kenton), and educator, Phil Rizzo. By age 16, Baker was officially a professional musician: going to school during the day and playing paid gigs in bars and clubs by night. His reputation soon earned him two Berklee College of Music scholarships, where he studied under jazz great Garrison Fuel, as well as Larry Bione, Bruce Saunders and Bruce Bartlett. He also became an honors graduate of Cleveland State University, having earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing.
Baker further distinguished himself in the professional music community when he composed and produced commercial music for the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Cardinals, WKYC-TV, Sports Time Ohio, KSDK (St. Louis), KPNX-TV (Phoenix) and Clear Channel Communications. He could also be heard playing guitar on many commercial jingles for McDonald’s, Mr. Hero, Pearl Vision, Sterling Jewelers, Matco Tools, Ohio Lottery and Cleveland State University. His work in Cleveland culminated in 2010 with an Emmy® nomination for musical composition and arrangement.
Dave relocated to Nashville shortly thereafter, where his broad range of experience and incredible talents have served him well as a freelance guitar slinger. As Baker’s playing had been described by Guitar Player Magazine as “non-stop guitar bliss,” he quickly built his reputation in Music City based upon his versatility and professionalism.
He has played guitar alongside such notable country artists as The Line, Luke Bryan, Thompson Square, Josh Thompson, Ashley Gearing, Darryl Worley, Justin Moore, Laura Bell Bundy, Randy Houser, Craig Campbell, Rodney Adkins, Brett Eldridge, Kip Moore, The McClymonts, Eric Paslay and, since early 2012, with Black River Entertainment recording star, Kellie Pickler. Dave is currently a standing member of her band in addition to pursuing his other music projects.
Over the course of his career Baker has performed at the White House, the Grand Ole Opry and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, plus toured the US, Australia, China, Switzerland, Germany, and Afghanistan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain (the Middle East twice for the USO).
Television viewers have also seen him in action on Ellen, Craig Ferguson, Dancing with the Stars, The View and Good Morning America, as well as televised Opry performances on the GAC network.
In 2014 Dave recorded and self-released his debut CD, 71 South, an eclectic album that brings the listener a collection of diverse instrumentals that encompass musical cleverness, humor and virtuosity while humbly reflecting Baker’s character.
71 South’s ten tracks underscore his variety in musical styles. From the “tongue-in-cheek” neo-classical opener, “Guitar Center Saturday” to the Eastern European tinged “The Brothel,” Baker explores a wide array of musical genres including his Latin influenced “Esteban,” Ennio Morricone-inspired “Spaghetti Western,” and the title track “71 South,” which pays tribute to a jazzier, bop affected characterization.
Baker both produced the CD and played electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, Jew’s harp and rape whistle. The album’s musicians include drummer Rich Redmond (Jason Aldean), bassist Vail Johnson (Keb’ Mo’) and multi-instrumentalist/producer John Painter (Ben Folds/Sevendust), among others. 71 South is available for purchase on iTunes and CD Baby.