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Album Review from Billboard Magazine
Country music is something of a muddle these days, with reviewers and critics drawing lines between contemporary popular country, alternative triple A country, and traditional country. Of all the categories, the third is the most confusing because it refers to popular country made anytime between the ''20s and the ''70s or ''80s. Ronnie Baker sings traditional country on his 2006 self-titled, though songs like "One Bar Town" wouldn''t be too out of place of contemporary country radio. The thing is, Baker, while supplementing steel with electric guitar, is never quite as over-the-top as the radio''s current heartthrobs. A song like "All I Can Do Is Love You" is a tasteful, easy-flowing love song with fiddles and a gentle backbeat; "Urban Cowboy Wanna Be" moves to a medium-tempo boogie, updating Jimmy Buffett''s "Brand New Country Star." "Urban Cowboy Wanna Be" also qualifies as Baker''s comment on the less-than-genuine propagators of country. The acoustic-electric band arrangements are well done, and carefully chosen to fit each song. Baker''s also a soulful singer, quite at home with the chosen material. For those disillusioned with contemporary quality but not quite ready to jump on the alternative bandwagon, Ronnie Baker has put together an enjoyable, well-made country album.
~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide
Passion is a key ingredient when it comes to making dreams a reality. Ronnie Baker is passionate about music and he conveys that passion to his audiences, whether it’s in a live performance or on record. That passion came through recently when Ronnie’s song, “Somebody Stole The Sun,” won WKRO’s “The Showdown In KRO-Town” for five days in a row, beating out such national favorites as Keith Urban. The song went into regular rotation at the station and when he played at The Barn in Sanford, Fl., over 1,300 people stood in line to get into the show. “Somebody Stole The Sun” will be Ronnie’s first single from his upcoming self-titled CD project. A native of Wilmington, N.C., Baker’s first forays into music were at age three, when his mother would stand him on jukeboxes on the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The proud mother would play Elvis Presley songs and young Ronnie would mimic the singer and dance to the groove. He has never lost that early passion for music and to this day, he’s still dancing to the groove every time he has the opportunity! “I kept singing and started entering talent shows and won many of them,” Ronnie says, his eyes lighting up as he talks about his career. “My mother said my banging on her pots and pans drove her crazy so she got me my first set of drums when I was five years old. When I was eight she bought me a guitar. I decided I wanted to be a singer and entertainer and I have never looked back.” After graduating from high school when he was 17, Baker moved to Charlotte. N.C., where he hoped to join a band. He found one that needed a lead singer and traveled with them up and down the East Coast, becoming regional favorites. Instead of getting his music degree on a college campus, Ronnie achieved his degree by experiencing the ups and downs of life on the road every day. It was Ronnie’s passion and determination that kept him going when all the band’s gear was lost in a fire at a club where they were playing. It kept him going when the Charlie Daniels Talent Roundup chose him as a participant but shut down before competition got started. He never lost his faith, even when the band almost lost a car and trailer on an icy hill in Mississippi. “I’ve wanted to stop a couple times but I couldn’t,” Ronnie says. “Through all the setbacks I just kept on going because I think there has to be a reason that God gave me this talent. It doesn’t matter if I’m performing for three people, or 3,000 – I have the same passion. I just love being on that stage.” Baker’s influences range from country to rhythm and blues – he loves the early Motown sounds, but he also draws from Ronnie Milsap, Keith Urban, The Eagles, Vince Gill, Alabama, George Strait, John Berry and Tim McGraw. “Listening to all these people, who are incredible vocalists and who sing from the heart, and knowing they love what they do, is very inspiring to me,” Ronnie says. Baker is a natural on stage. It’s a second home to him as he works the audience into a frenzy on the fast numbers and slows them down for one of his signature ballads. His timing is impeccable and the audience rides the waves of emotion with him as he takes them through his repertoire of original tunes and country and rock classics. The songs on the album showcase Ronnie’s vocal range and allow him to convey varying emotions, from “What A Little Love Can Do” to “Hard Rockin’ Rebel.” “That pretty much says what I am onstage,”Ronnie says of “Hard Rockin’ Rebel.” I like to get out there and move around and take the crowd with me. I love that.” Ronnie says he was going through the breakup of a relationship when he wrote “What A Little Love Can Do,” and he said the song fit his state of mind at the time. “You break up with someone and you think you’ll never find anyone again, and then you meet someone. It’s a song that everyone can relate to.” Of the single, “Somebody Stole The Sun,” Ronnie says, “The first time I heard it I just started singing it. It fits right in my range. It is a very powerful song; it has soul and conviction. You grab people’s attention in the first two or three words.” While Ronnie is looking forward to the release of his album, he says he will never forget where he has been. The singer takes time to acknowledge the journey and his fans and friends who have helped him stay true to his passion. “I am very fortunate and appreciative of what everyone has done for me along the way,” Ronnie says. “People have believed in me almost more than I believe in myself. If it wasn’t for that I might have quit. Their support made it easier to keep going.” Ronnie pauses a moment, then continues, “But I know in my heart of hearts that I will never quit. I just love what I’m doing too much to do that.”
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