Studio Update

Yeah, well, it’s been about a hundred years since I updated this. But we have been working away at the new studio. We are hopefully in the home stretch on this thing. We’re painting the interior, trimming out the doors & windows. I never would’ve dreamed that we’d still be working on this project when we broke ground last January. But the difficulties of building in a year in which we met our yearly average rainfall total in July have pronounced themselves over and over. Endless mud, days lost because it was too wet to work. It has been a lesson in patience. But I keep telling myself to focus on the end result.

The space inside the studio is going to be everything I had hoped for. Lots of light, nice views. It’s an inspirational setting to be in, up in the trees. And that’s why I have decided to name the studio The Arbor Studio. The building is very tall and surrounded by gorgeous East Tennessee hardwood forest. It is my intention to let the woods grow back in around the building so that it stays as close to it’s natural setting as possible. The woodwork on the building is amazingly beautiful and my builder is putting his best craftsmanship to work to create what I think is going to be a remarkable building. I hope to record remarkable music there. With good luck and skill the building will be finished in a month. So Spring will be time to get it set up to record.

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Baker Acres Reborn

I may have mentioned on this site somewhere that Baker Acres Studio had plans to expand. Well they have come to fruition after lo these many years of searching for the perfect site at the perfect price. In the next few blog posts, I will attempt to recount the long journey to where I am now, which is that I have broken ground on a new, purpose built recording studio.

3 years ago I inherited part of an IRA account from my father who passed away. It was not enough money to retire to the Caribbean, but enough to do something with. My wife very generously said I could do what I wanted with it. My plan to rebuild or enlarge Baker Acres was born.

My original plan was to just tear down my current studio (the charming little wooden shed I’ve been recording in for the past 16 years) and build something with more room. But I rejected that because it doesn’t have plumbing and I don’t want to have strangers coming in my house to use the bathroom. So I starting looking for a building to modify into a studio. I looked at, and rejected several commercial buildings as they were too expensive. I looked at several houses. Even made an offer on a foreclosed home but never came to a deal. I agreed to a price on a piece of raw land in a location I liked but the deal fell through because the soil on the property would not drain properly and I could not get a septic permit. This took most of two years and as you might imagine was a very frustrating roller coaster of emotion. This is my dream I’m building here…

When my wife and I bought our house 16 years ago, I remember learning that a previous owner of our house was an old friend of my mother’s and that he still owned the adjoining wooded property behind our house and would be willing to sell it to us if we were interested. At that time, we had just bought our house and couldn’t afford it. But last Winter I remembered this conversation and began wondering if the property would fit my plans. I dug up this man’s phone number and gave him a call. As it happened he was still interested in selling the land to us. After a bit of thought and discussion, we made a deal and the land was procured. The next hurdle was a septic permit. After several weeks and multiple phone conversations with thoroughly bored and uncaring bureaucrats, I was able to get the prized permit. Future builders, be aware that everything takes WAY more time than you’d expect. Everything. If I am learning anything (and I’m learning a ton) in this process, it’s patience.

This will conclude part one of the Baker Acres Studio story. This is more typing than I’ve done in months…

more next time…


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2012 Roane County Song Poems

Hello, I hope you’ll check out this cool project I worked on with my friends Doug Campbell and Bill Ardison

It’s a free download. Make sure you download the whole album at once because that way you get a pdf with the lyrics, written by students from Roane County High School. There are moments of sheer genius in those lyrics, some intentional but mostly purely accidental (the best kind IMO). We wrote and recorded 48 songs in 60 days! It was a great fun project and a great exercise in songwriting. This is our fifth year to do this and the song and recording quality gets better every year. I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings.


Steve Wildsmith of the Maryville Daily Times had this to say about it.

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Econopop Summer Tour

Econopop will be playing songs from “Woodgrain” this Wednesday night at the Speakeasy on the 2nd floor of the Preservation Pub. It’s new, clean, non-smoking and we’re playing at a decent hour (8:30-10pm). Oh, and even better, it’s FREE! So what are you waiting for? Come on down.

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Woodgrain is here.

Well folks, my new album “Woodgrain” is born. You can download it here.

Have a listen and if you like, I hope you’ll buy one. And if you’re one of those collector types, order the physical CD. It’s worth it. Handmade and designed by George Middlebrooks at . Thanks for your beautiful art George.

There will only be 50 copies of this.

On the live music front, econopop and I have been playing all over Knoxville this month in preparation for the CD release party on April 23rd in the Sunsphere! That’s right, In. The. Sunsphere. Keep an eye out for details on that.

So I guess that’s what’s up at Baker Acres. I’m anxious to get back to work on the next album, which is about half done. It’s gonna be wild! Totally different than Woodgrain. I just wrote a song for it yesterday called Poison. It’s techno. Yeah. I said that. Wait and see.

Thanks for reading.

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Well Woodgrain is mastered and sounds great! Jim Rivers over at KATP Studio did a bang-up job mastering it and smoothing out the rough edges. Now we move on to the packaging. I always wait till the last minute to do this stuff and in my experience, it takes almost as long as the recording does. I need to get started on this stuff WAY earlier next time. Luckily, I have design ace George Middlebrooks to make something beautiful out of the scraps of text and random iPhone pictures I send him.

If you haven’t got it already, head over to the Disc Exchange in South Knoxville and pick up a copy of Unmind- A Solution for Modern Life by my friend Todd Steed. You wanna see beautiful packaging? Well there it is. It helps that the Unmind album is excellent and very entertaining. Steed and his compatriot (and fellow Ampient Music pal) Bob Deck have made something quite unlike anything I’ve ever heard. If you’re not here in Knoxville, you can get it online at the usual spots (iTunes, Amazon) but you don’t get George’s super nice artwork. And that’s worth the price of admission on its own.

And speaking of Ampient Music, Bob Deck, George Middlebrooks and I appeared yesterday on 11 O’Clock Rock on We played three pieces of music, as yet unnamed. The camera crew there did an outstanding job shooting the proceedings. Very artistically done. Go over to and check it out.

We have a show at the Preservation Pub on Feb 23rd and if all goes as planned, it will be the CD release show for Woodgrain. There are three bands on the bill: Stolen Sheep, econopop and the Westside Daredevils. I play in all three bands, so I should be whupped by the end of the evening. I’m hoping it’ll be fun.

Also on the Westside Daredevils front, we just played at Waynestock at Relix Variety Theater in North Knoxville last weekend and I’m still warm in the afterglow of a wonderful experience playing with many of the town’s best musicians: RB Morris, Tim Lee 3, Mic Harrison, Senryu, Melungeons, Kevin Abernathy Band, Quartjar. It was a testament to how good and diverse the music scene is here in Knoxville. We need to do that about twice, three times a year.

Well, thanks for checking out Baker-Acres. I’ll see you soon, I hope


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New year, new music…

My new album “Woodgrain” is finished! Well, almost. I sent it to KatP Studio to be mastered only to find out that some of the tracks are mixed too hot and are a bit distorted. So I gotta go pull down some faders. But that shouldn’t take too long. I’ve got my friend George Middlebrooks working on art/graphics so you know it’s gonna look great. If you have design work you need done, check his stuff out at

In other news, I am a guest musician on a new album by Lousy Robot, a great pop band out of Albuquerque NM. I’ve known singer Jim Phillips since my days in Memphis with the Martini Age. We played a lot of gigs with Jim’s band Judge Crater back in the day. After catching back up with each other about a year ago and exchanging music, he asked if I would play some drums and guitar on  some songs of his. We did it all via email and the result is “Man On a Weird Horse Pt 1” and “Sugarsweet Me” on Lousy Robot’s new album “Hail The Conquering Fool” due to be released on January 21st. You can stream it here I’m proud to be on this album, thanks Jim!

Lots of gigs coming up for my various bands. econopop, Stolen Sheep and Westside Daredevils will do a triple bill at the Preservation Pub on Feb 23rd. So I’ll be doing triple duty that night. Bring me strong coffee. Also there’s talk of a big band festival in late January that the Westside Daredevils will be playing. Keep an eye out for word of that. I’ll let you know.

now playing: The Books- The Way Out, Skafish- What’s This?, Junip- Fields, Black Mountain- Wilderness Heart, The Unmind Institute for Positive Waves

more later, I suppose


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The BakerAcres Mission.

Ah, the first BakerAcres blog post. I suppose I should start with some sort of mission statement. That’s what you do, right?

What I guess I’ll use this blog for is to pontificate on music, it’s making and recording. I’ll probably shill my own stuff here but I might shill the work of my friends or maybe bands I play with. I might also discuss trends in recorded music. I’ve been collecting records most of my life (I still call them records no matter if they’re vinyl, shiny discs or invisible, virtual records I download) and I’ve been an avid reader of liner notes all that time. There are mythic recording studios I’d love to see. Wizard-like producers I’d love to meet and watch work. This is all because of reading the credits on the backs of albums I’ve acquired over the years.

I always have at least a couple of recording projects going and any given time. I’m just finishing up one album “Woodgrain” and am about halfway through writing and recording a gruesome concept album that has been a departure for me. But it has been so fun to make. I have collaborated with as many musician friends as I can on it. Everybody, even non-musicians, has contributed something. A song title here, a lyric or plot idea there. Packaging ideas. They’re coming in from all over. And I love it.

Anyway, that’s the plan with this blog. I hope you might feel compelled to comment or contact me just to say hello. My name is John T. Baker and I approve this message.

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