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Ken Baird

Crossover Prog

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Ken Baird Martin Road album cover
4.17 | 17 ratings | 5 reviews | 18% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Brave Anna (7:10)
2. Window (4:39)
3. She Takes One Step (5:36)
4. Drawing Water (5:25)
5. In Between A Home (5:02)
6. Outside (4:02)
7. Paved Over Summertime (3:48)
8. This Old Boat (6:11)
9. Martin Road (7:47)
10. Victoria Day (4:30)

Total Time: 54:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Ken Baird / vocals, keyboards, piano, guitar, composer, producer

- Sue Fraser / vocals (2,5,6,10)
- Steve Cochrane / guitar (3,9)
- Jacob Moon / guitar (10)
- John Mamone / bass (4,7), guitar (7)
- Dino Verginella / bass (8,9)
- Chris Lamont / drums (1,3,4,6-9)

Releases information

Artwork: Ken Baird (photo)

CD Private release - KBCD 004 (2003, Canada)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KEN BAIRD Martin Road ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(53%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KEN BAIRD Martin Road reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars "Martin Road" is Ken BAIRD's 4th studio album, this time taking our ears into a fresh new song oriented direction. One of the finest qualities of Ken BAIRD's music is his unscathed and unconstrained approach to music. "Martin Road" is an album that will grab your attention by its sheer color and beauty right from the start. This album is an introspective journey into BAIRD's symphonic landscapes of imagery and color and on every listen you will discover something slightly different. As in all of his album, "Martin Road" showcases his deep keyboard arsenal and talents with a unique fusion of contemporary song oriented elements with rich symphonic sweeps. Sue Fraser and her angelic voice appears as well on the album, but contributes mainly on backing and support vocals with the majority of them being handled effortlessly by Ken. Canadian composer/guitarist Steve COCHRANE is also featured on this album performing some of his personal finest guitar craftsmanship yet. Overall "Martin Road" is another excellent addition into Ken BAIRD's discography... clearly one of Canada's most hidden talents... Highly recommended...!
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ken Baird's third opus reaches another level of confidence with a strong set of precious melodies, forging further his reputation as a Canadian Prog artist of the highest calibre. What I admire the most is his commitment to running his own show, handling not only all the musical aspects, both instrumentally but compositionally, with the aid of a few musician cronies but his willingness to keep an open door with his fans by replying to e-mails and CD orders etc..I guess he is typical of the vast majority of Prog artists who run a business, a career or a profession whilst recording beautiful music as a purely personal commitment to their artistic vision. Admirable!

As with his past discography, this is gentle prog territory where the soundscapes evoke serenity and contemplation, with the accent on melody and mood and the added bonus of great musicianship without thankfully falling into unneeded bombast and overt technical display (Prog's Achilles heel). The proceedings are nice and simple, with guest guitarist and solo artist in his own right, Steve Cochrane, lending some dazzling lead insertions, always unique and showing exquisite technique. Martin Road is another personal statement with pastoral themes (his home town of Dundas Ontario is such a lovely region), a highly original musical voyage with fragile extended tunes like "Brave Anna" ,"This Old Boat" or the magical title track that is purely spellbinding. The shorter pieces like "Outside" ,"Drawing Water" and "In Between A Home" are memorable even on the first pass. "Martin Road" is another main thoroughfare on the Prog Highway and deserves your attention.

4 go signs

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars "Martin Road" is really a collection of beautiful songs that are reserved and subtle for the most part.The vocals and instruments are all done tastefully, nothing flamboyant. Great music to listen to when your taking a leisurely drive in the country. The picture on the album cover (and inside) were taken by Ken himself.

The highlight for me is the opener "Brave Anna". This song brings out the emotion in me everytime.The piano intro is gorgeous ! And the song is infectious too with it's beautiful melody. This really should be on the radio, it's so good !Okay, it's too good to be on the radio. Lots of flute as well and check out the guitar 3 minutes in and before 6 1/2 minutes. Amazing track. "Window" opens with the sounds of "outside", you know when it's night and the windows open and you can hear crickets and frogs. Reserved vocals and piano lead the way. What a story teller this man is though. The lyrics of this track and the others are stories for the heart. Another highlight is "She Takes One Step" which has a great rhythm to it. I like the guitar after 2 minutes with synths and then vocal melodies join in. "Drawing Water" has some rare bass in it. I like the chorus a lot, he reminds me of Neal Morse here when he sings. Love the lyrics though as he sings "I just need some water to be free, drawing water...". "In Between A Home" opens with some impressive piano melodies. Vocals come in and with it a great story. Susan helps out vocally late.

"Outside" has a GENESIS feel to it, it's the keyboards. Fantastic lyrics about driving at night and just needing to be outside. "Paved Over Summertime" has a good rhythm to it. I like the vocal melodies too. A song about how our great memories and past have been paved over as it were. I like the synths on this one as well. How about the penny whistle on "This Old Boat" ! Even better though are the lyrics, such intelligent and thought provoking lyrics. The title track is my second favourite. Piano intro and when the vocals come in i'm moved to tears.The lyrics are the key to this song and to the entire record I believe. What did Ken see on Martin road ? It's worth buying to find the answer to that question. The album ends with "Victoria Day" a holiday in May up here in Canada. That long weekend is the first one where the "party people" (haha) come up to my town to go crazy. Acoustic guitar, keys and vocals lead the way in this mellow track.

As I said earlier this is music for the heart that is intelligently written and tastefully played. Beautiful.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Martin Road' - Ken Baird (8/10)

If anything, the wide open space of Canada has been a breeding ground for some pretty gifted singer-songwriters over the years. From Gordon Lightfoot to Leonard Cohen, the country's sprawling landscape has served as an inspiration for such songsters to write and sing their hearts out to anyone who begs to listen. Such appears to be the case with Hamilton, Ontario based artist Ken Baird. Taking progressive rock and adding a simple, yet intelligent songwriting approach (...or perhaps it is the other way around?), Baird presents to us 'Martin Road,' a very warm piece of music that enjoys a sense of moderation scarcely seen in the prog scene nowadays.

To describe the music here, it might be fair to call this piano/acoustic-based rock, with lush symphonic prog rock arrangements to lend added depth. The progressive rock presence here seems to be derived greatly from the sound of early Genesis; although Baird is careful not to be a clone of any other act. While the compositions themselves are quite straightforward, the tasteful arrangements of extra guitar harmonies, keyboard and flute work helps bring the songwriting to it's potential. That being said, all of the music on 'Martin Road' is driven mainly by the songwriting, and the album would be nothing without Baird's keen sense of melodic work.

The album opens with one of my favourite tracks here; 'Brave Anna.' A piano-based rocker, the piece builds up through the use of great, emotive melodies and Baird's simple, but effective vocal delivery. Another one of my preferred tracks from the album is 'She Takes One Step,' which really reminds me of the aforementioned Canadian songwriters. With a really driven rhythm and a very narrative lyrical style, the track feels like it's a twang away from being considered country, or folk-rock. While Baird is not the most technically accomplished vocalist by any stretch, he does some incredible work with harmonies, and there's a full display here.

The last two tracks- 'Martin Road,' and 'Victoria Day' respectively- make up the other two highlights on the album. The rest of the tracks that aren't mentioned go from being decent, to very good, but these last two tracks leave the album on a fantastic note. While I would never consider Ken Baird to have progressive songwriting or composition, the title track definitely goes beyond the calling of a traditional singer-songwriter piece. Clocking in at almost eight minutes long, there is plenty of detail here, including slight piano flourishes, and some very melodic lead work that never oversteps it's bounds beyond the necessity of the songwriting. Lastly, 'Victoria Day' is perhaps the best song here, and a perfect closer to such a gentle album. Beautiful acoustic work leads into Ken's quiet, yet warm voice, paired with the great vocal harmonies I've come to expect from this artist.

'Martin Road' lacks a rock-solid consistency, but each track here does contribute a pleasant listening experience; the album is quite excellent overall. A very heartwarming and near- pastoral collection of songs, Ken Baird keeps the focus on melody here, and the result is an album that rarely dabbles in the realm of the experimental, but uses existing structures to create something special and beautiful.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Writing about music is a challenge. It must first be forced to imagine that the word can mean the sound, the verb is able to account for the most elusive part of the music. For my part, often the words escape me, I must hurry before I could no longer write. But writing about music Ken Baird seem ... (read more)

Report this review (#1302403) | Posted by brainsuccasurgery | Monday, November 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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