The Hideout at the Rodeo 2011: Rob Baird
March 15, 2011
Kick up your heels at The Hideout, located on the east side of Reliant Astrodome. Look for the big white tent packed with dancers and up-and-coming and local-favorite country artists. The Hideout is open for those 21 and older. It’s your chance to hear some of the best-in-Texas music for just the price of admission to Reliant Park!
Tuesday, March 15: Rob Baird.
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” approach to song structure, melded with Baird’s affinity for darker-themed lyrics of Texas writers like 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 last 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. “We were influenced a bit by T Bone Burnett’s playbook on that one,” says Baird.
“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 the record. “It’s hateful but happy, and dark in a major key,” says Baird.
On “Fade Away,” Baird says the song, written with the capo at the 7th fret, was influenced by Petty’s “Wildflowers” -- and the end result is deceptively simple and happy sounding. “We used a lot of pump organ on that song, and light train drum rhythm, but it’s way in the back. Simple sometimes takes a lot more thought than it sounds, there are a lot of layers there to make it sound so melodic.”
Elsewhere, there is love of course, with “Louise” about the infatuation that ensues after one chance meeting. And “Let Me Down Easy,” there is 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 that 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.
Baird is touring Texas all summer, including dates in Dallas, Austin, Lubbock, San Antonio and will tour the southeast and beyond around the album release.