Hannah Rose Baker never thought that she would be a musician, at least, not one who loved country music, played in dive bars, and revered Willie Nelson. Nevertheless, that is where she has found herself today. Armed with her father’s guitar, her fiddle and her voice, Baker writes and performs songs of humorous melancholy that pay tribute to the deep and wide traditions of American music.
Born on April Fool’s Day, Hannah Rose Baker grew up the child of parents who sang her to sleep at night and woke her with the piano in the morning. As a toddler, she fashioned an accordion out of a newspaper bag in order to play along with her father’s Hohner. In third grade she was called to the violin, despite her mother’s desire that she play the piano, something for which she’s not sure she has ever been entirely forgiven. Above all, Hannah grew up in a family for which every occasion was an opportunity to sing.
Though she grew up listening to a wide variety of traditional music, Baker was a classical musician to the bone until homesickness in college drew her to the songs and tunes that reminded her of home and family. Two years later she had immersed herself in traditional fiddling, building a deep repertoire of tunes and songs. A stint in Texas introduced her to legends like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, and another flavor was added to her musical pot. After spending her twenties trying out various careers (cheesemaker, trail maintenance, arts administration, grad student… the list goes on), Hannah realized that all she wanted to do was play music, and play it better. She enrolled in Berklee College of Music and launched herself fully into creating the career in music she didn’t know that she’d dreamed of until it became clear there was no other option.
Over the years, Baker has grown from an old time fiddler to a well-rounded musician versed in bluegrass, classic country music, and traditional Appalachian and English song, in addition to dabbling in Scandinavian, Scottish, and Irish traditions. Most recently she has fallen in love with Texas swing and Gypsy jazz. All of these influences come together both in Baker’s original songwriting and her choice of repertoire. Her songwriting combines quirky word play with surprising emotional depth, bolstered by her high energy performance style and bright vocals. Baker also brings a sensitivity and modernity to more traditional repertoire from both Appalachia and the British Isles. Her passion for classic country music can be heard on her recent self-titled debut which features both original and cover material. Her first full-length album will combine new originals with a well-curated selection of traditional material in a way that is both very modern and very old. It will be released in 2018.
Audio and Video Samples
Supplemental Documents of On and Off Campus Engagements
Recorded an EP of original material at The Record Company in Boston, MA
EP Release concert, August 18, 2016 at Gallery 263. Voice, violin, songwriting
The Bear Cage Sessions 06/08/2016 Jamaica Plain, MA Voice, violin, concept
A video project combining folk and jazz idioms
Odua Afro Beat Orchestra, November 16, 2015 at the Berklee Performance Center, Violinist
Performed at Roots Roadshow, 9/12/2016 at Cafe 939
Ensemble Assistant, Old Time Ensemble, Berklee Global String Intensive 2016