Tim Baker’s elemental thing

Hey Rosetta’s leader returns solo with a slate of new songs he hopes fans can continue to connect to.

Britney Townsend

Tim Baker and The Halifax All-Stars w/Lilly Hiatt, Brad Roberts, Mick Davis
The Carleton, 1685 Argyle Street, 8pm

One of the country's favourite bands, Hey Rosetta!, called it quits last year, but Tim Baker has moved on alone. After a summer of festivals and an album in the can, he'll offer up some new songs to the Halifax Urban Folk Festival this weekend.

When founding members Adam Hogan and Josh Ward decided to bow out, "I couldn't see my way to doing another record at that time with all the past of Hey Rosetta! staring at me, without those guys," says Baker, the band's primary songwriter. "I've always thought about doing a solo thing—songs that weren't quite epic enough or whatever. I really wanted to do something more relaxed and groovier, more stripped-down, laidback."

So he's made a new album, with Marcus Paquin in Montreal, that'll be out next year, with a title he's still holding close. "I hope people will find that there's some elemental thing that remains," he says, "and that it's an important part of what they liked about Hey Rosetta!." He road-tested the songs on a house-show tour last winter, a world away from the theatres, clubs and festival sites he was used to filling with his band.

"It was kinda terrifying, which is kinda the reason I did it," Baker says. "I wanted to get back to the most basic equation of what it is to make music for people—stand in front of a microphone and sing them songs."

Another major change for the former leader of a very staunchly St. John's band has been his move to Toronto 18 months ago.

"I was always insulted when I was asked by mainland media, 'When are you guys gonna move away from Newfoundland?'" he says. "When? What the fuck are you talking about? Why is it incumbent for us to fucking leave because we've been half-successful being a band?" He pauses. "And now here I am in Toronto. The fuckers were right."

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