Folk artist to ‘lumber rock’ Moscow

Seattle-based folk band to play originals, covers at John’s Alley Friday night as the first stop of their month-long tour



Norman Baker and the Backroads play on March 20, 2019 at Tractor Tavern in Seattle. Baker performs his “barrel-aged Americana” music at over 200 shows a year.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

Norman Baker and the Backroads, a Seattle-based folk band, will bring their original music to Moscow on Friday night at John’s Alley.

Norman Baker, a singer and songwriter, is no stranger to Moscow. He said he has played several shows at John’s Alley Tavern, but it has been a few years since his last visit.

The band will perform a mix of original music and covers, Baker said.

“It’s been too long since I’ve played in Moscow, so I’m way overdue,”  he said.

With two of his own albums under his belt, Baker has also been featured on about 30 other albums. One of his albums named, “Present Day,” was released in 2015 and his other album titled, “The Art of Not Knowing,” was released in 2007. Both can be found on Spotify.

Baker draws inspiration for his songs from his daily life including experiences like driving down the road or personal loss, Baker said.

His music is also influenced by Baker’s friends who are artists and songwriters as well, he said.

“I’m working on my new album right now,” Baker said. “A lot of them are singing about music, which you could say is a love song.”

He also performs over 200 shows a year.

Baker has toured about eight times since 2017, he said. He performs with both the full band and as a solo act.

This March, Baker and the Backroads will kick off a month-long tour. It starts off the first three nights with stops in Pendleton, Moscow and Walla Walla.

“I take it a little further and further every time,” Baker said. “This is my first time [in this tour] playing further east than Texas.”

Baker, raised in Seattle, said he started writing songs and learning how to play the guitar at 11 years old. He also picked up the trumpet, trombone and wrote rap songs with his friends.

The band is a blend of alternative, rock and Americana, he said.

Baker created a new term for his genre of music. He calls it barrel-aged lumber rock and barrel-aged Americana.

“I wanted to think of a term that works well for my music that’s like slightly twangy but also a little bit rock, a little bit funky and soulful,” Baker said.

The band will perform at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13 at John’s Alley. Attendees must be 21 or over for this performance. Tickets are $5 at the door.