‘Lumber rock’ comes to John’s Alley

click to enlarge Norman Baker is leader of the band Norman Baker & the Backroads. The group also features pedal steel guitar by ?Country Dave? Harmonson, bass by Dan Schmidt and drums by Jake Evans.
Norman Baker is leader of the band Norman Baker & the Backroads. The group also features pedal steel guitar by ?Country Dave? Harmonson, bass by Dan Schmidt and drums by Jake Evans.

By ANNABELLE ADY

for Inland360

The Seattle-based rock band Norman Baker & the Backroads plans to kick off its spring tour to Texas and New Orleans Friday at John’s Alley in Moscow.

Baker, the band’s namesake and lead singer, described its sound as “lumber rock, barrel-aged Americana” with alt country, roots and folk influences, “that's sometimes rocking, sometimes twangy, sometimes dreamy, but always groovy. Regardless of the genre, it's always gotta be funky.”

Baker is at work on his third full-length album, which he is producing with engineer/co-producer Jim Roth from Built to Spill. Baker told Inland360 more about some of his experiences on the road.

What are some of your favorite touring experiences? 

Baker: Southern hospitality, sleeping in epic tree houses in the Colorado mountains, exploring nature during any free time I get, jam sessions with locals, lightning storms, house concerts, ghost towns, outdoor showers, writing songs and recording demos in cabins and arranging a 91st birthday message for my Grandma Dorothy on the jumbotron at a Mariners game when I couldn't join my family because I was on tour.

What are you looking forward to most during your spring 2020 tour?

Baker: Small town thrift stores, hunting for hand sanitizer…and potentially catching an NBA game in Dallas, Houston or New Orleans.

Of all the artists with whom you’ve collaborated, which one has been your favorite and why? 

Baker: Okechukwu in the village of Ezedebia in Imo State, Nigeria, near the Niger Delta. The traditional genre exclusive to their village is called Owerri Bongo Music. Improvising with Oke and his nephews on handmade guitars, basses and tree-sized mallet instruments he made was an unforgettable experience. Even though their official national language is English, there was definitely still a language barrier deep in the bush of the indigenous Igbo Tribe; (but) the language of music has no barrier.

To whom would you recommend your John’s Alley show?

Baker: All music fans who appreciate a good storyline and can navigate the fine, respectful line between being a listening crowd while also getting down.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Norman Baker & the Backroads.

WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 13.

WHERE: John's Alley, 114 E. Sixth St., Moscow.

COST: $5.

OF NOTE: Ages 21 and older only.

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