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KEN BAIRD

Crossover Prog • Canada


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Ken Baird biography
There's something very endearing about the music of Ken BAIRD: a combination of exquisite, melodic orchestral prog with pastoral, almost elemental acoustics. His four albums to date provide some outstanding progressive moments spiked with folk elements. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, BAIRD had his first piano lessons at the age of fourteen and then went on to study classical music at McMaster University. In 1994, he released an album with the band PERPETUAL ANGELUS and then went solo when the band broke up. All of his cd's are self produced and self sold (available from his web site).

His first album, "August" (1996), is all instrumental except for one track (with BAIRD handling all the instruments himself). Despite the synths, this reflective album has a warm and natural feel, at times reminiscent of Mike OLDFIELD, GANDALF or CODA, at other times taking on TANGERINE DREAM, VANGELIS and Rick WAKEMAN flights. "Fields" (1998), his second release, has a slightly more progressive edge and features four guest musicians - among whom you'll hear the distinctive soprano voice of Susan Fraser. It also showcases Ken's talents as a singer-songwriter. His tender, intimate, almost contemplative delivery is in the tradition of the best English vocalists and suits the dream-like imagery of the themes perfectly. "Orion", released in 2000, features yet more guest musicians (including guitarist Steve COCHRANE) who help create a bigger, rockier sound and give the album a more dramatic feel, both in the writing and the production. With "Martin Road" (2003), we are back to more pastoral harmonies and intimate song writing. Here again, BAIRD's vocals are so gentle it almost seems as if he were afraid of getting caught singing, as though someone might walk in... but you wouldn't want it any other way. Gentle, yet very powerful stuff.

Whether instrumental - or song-oriented, Ken BAIRD's material oozes class from every pore. His well-crafted and colourful musical phrases can't fail to connect with anyone into quiet, contemplative melodic prog.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy KEN BAIRD Music


OrionOrion
CD Baby 2000
Audio CD$12.63
$12.62 (used)
AugustAugust
CD Baby 1997
Audio CD$14.84
FieldsFields
CD Baby 1998
Audio CD$15.10
$5.44 (used)
Further OutFurther Out
CD Baby 2009
Audio CD$12.64
$11.99 (used)
Martin RoadMartin Road
CD Baby 2003
Audio CD$12.61
$199.98 (used)
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KEN BAIRD discography


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KEN BAIRD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 5 ratings
August
1996
3.69 | 7 ratings
Fields
1998
3.35 | 5 ratings
Orion
2000
4.21 | 8 ratings
Martin Road
2003
3.63 | 12 ratings
Further Out
2009

KEN BAIRD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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KEN BAIRD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 August by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.66 | 5 ratings

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August
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars A great Canadian talent, Ken Baird usually composes his music residing in Dundas, Ontario.He had been a member of several small bands as a youngster, mainly playing keyboards, and has recorded some 200 cassettes and mini-albums between 1986 and 1996.Around the time he also started giving music lessons and decided to launch a first indepedent CD of his music, recorded during August 96', eventually entitled ''August''.In the album Baird performs all keys, guitars, drums, wind and ethnic instruments and also sings, helped only by female vocalist Sue Fraser.

The short OLDFIELD-ian introduction is beautiful, built around Baird's classical guitar and having a strong Celtic influence, while the long ''Trio'' gives an ideas of this man's unique talent.A great mix of Symphonic/New Age Music, Celtic Folk and Electronic Prog with superb work on keyboards, lovely flute themes and elegant acoustic moments.''Evening'' is a delicate piano tune with female choirs, background synths and an electronic vibe towards the end.In ''Song of Summer'' the OLDFIELD-ian influence becomes even more apparent.The only true vocal track of the album is another dreamy effort by Ken Baird, based on Celtic-influenced melodies with piano and flutes in the forefront and excellent both male and female vocals.The eponymous all instrumental 20-min. epic experience left me completely speechless, having a hard time to believe than one person composed such a fascinating suite.''August'' opens with the typical Celtic-influenced style of Baird's previous tunes, before exploding into a bombastic RICK WAKEMAN-ish Electronic/Symphonic Rock monument with unbelievable synth flights and flashy solos all over the place.The rest of the track is intricate Electronic/Celtic Prog Folk, with the music alternating between ethereal folky melodies and synth-based symphonic textures with comfort and confindence.

Fantastic debut with series of high-quality music themes.Highly recommended to all fans of instrumental Prog and especially those deep into MIKE OLDFIELD, STEPHAN CAUDEL or COLIN MASSON.

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 Orion by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.35 | 5 ratings

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Orion
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Orion' - Ken Baird & Sue Fraser (6/10)

Collaborating with friend and fellow singer Sue Fraser on this album, prog singer/songwriter Ken Baird's third album isn't much different than what I would have expected from this talented individual. Having been greatly impressed with his fourth album 'Martin Road' and his fifth 'Further Out' to a lesser extent, I did have higher expectations for this album. Taking a highly melodic approach to symphonic rock here, 'Orion' is one of those albums that is graced with moments of brilliance, but doesn't feel complete as an overall album. While certainly something of a disappointment when compared to Baird's stronger work however, 'Orion' is sure to tickle the fancy of anyone looking for a melodic and concise alternative to the generally more drawn out symphonic prog out there.

Although Ken Baird's more recent work has received greater attention and acclaim, the sound here is still very recognizable. A clever multi-instrumentalist as always, Baird crafts a very nice pastoral layer of sounds here, ranging from the typical keyboards one might find in progressive rock, to a solo with the recorder, and everything else a rock album might have in store. The focus in the music however is always on the songwriting and vocal work, here shared by Baird and Fraser. Baird's warm voice really shines here, even more so than on later albums of his creation. Fraser on the other hand is quite a skilled vocalist, but it does feel as if her voice is overused, and doesn't fit many of the sections she plays a role in. The songwriting is generally quite good, although Baird's style of writing always works best when he gets melancholic, as opposed to some of the brighter moments here.

Opening and closing with virtually the same track 'Waving Goodbye', it does feel as if 'Orion' was meant to have a tight sense of cohesion about it, but unfortunately, the end result is something that feels incomplete. While the music itself can be of a very high quality within the context of a song, 'Orion's biggest fault is the fact that it generally feels more like a collection of songs, despite all evident efforts made to make it more than that. A fine example is how the album's nine minute highlight 'Shadow Walls' simply cuts out without warning, which disrupts the enjoyment of each listen through of 'Orion'.

Far from being Ken Baird's best, but the album's two longer, more involving tracks are certainly a treat for any progger. Although the album can feel very unpolished and rough in sections, it does feel as if the great moments are worth treading through the unsuccessful segments.

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 Martin Road by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.21 | 8 ratings

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Martin Road
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Further Out by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.63 | 12 ratings

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Further Out
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Further Out' - Ken Baird (7/10)

Despite never having heard the name of musician Ken Baird before delving into this record, it's clear to me now both that he has a dedicated group of listeners behind him, and that there is a pretty good reason for them to be intrigued by this man's work. Releasing his material independently, Ken Baird seems to have snuck under the radar for many, but the music speaks for itself. His fifth studio effort (and my first experience with Ken's music) is a heartfelt and artistic piece of singer-songwriter material that is blessed with a sincerity that seems to be missing in alot of 'progressive' musician's work.

Mixing inherently unprogressive musical approaches such as 'pop' and AOR with proggier ideas and segments, Baird's music has been defined as 'pop-prog' and it seems to really ring true. Much of 'Further Out' however, is rooted in the concept of the 'singer-songwriter;' Baird's vocal work and melodies dominate the music. While the songs themselves are generally pretty simple in the way they are written, each track is embellished by some skillful arrangement of instruments.

Comparisons of Baird to the likes of Neal Morse (of Spock's Beard fame) are certainly reasonable, although 'Further Out' certainly demonstrates that Ken has a unique presentation to his music. While many prog artists emphasize a fireworks display of skill in their music, Ken's style of playing (and especially his singing) are meant to work within the confines of the track at hand. There is nothing unnecessary displayed here. While this 'no frills' approach to his composition does give a bit of a bland experience through some of the album's weaker tracks and passages, it does wonders for the sections of Baird's work that shine for their hooks and passion alone. Ken himself does not have a powerful voice, but his subtle and vulnerable dynamic lend a very warm impression.

Of special note is the beautiful and skilled work Ken does with the keyboard on 'Further Out.' While not necessary to any of the songs, it adds a dimension to the sound that may have otherwise been lacking. The ambitious drumming work of Chris Lamont is also of note; while this may be Ken Baird's show, Lamont is arguably the most technically accomplished musician here.

There are no bad offerings on 'Further Out,' although some tracks undeniably outdo others. The first half of the album is quite strong; such symphonic rockers as 'Spinning Wheels' give a very charming impression. Following that is the spacy 'A Thousand Years,' which may be the most memorable piece of music on the entire album, with it's poignant lyrics and very warm vocal performance. Towards the latter half of the record, things begin to get a bit less consistent, although no track deserves to be considered poor. The harder rocking tracks 'As The Highway Greets A Friend' and 'Everything To Lose' maintain the same quality performance, but their choruses both feel as if Baird might be trying to sing out of his register.

As with many good albums however, 'Further Out' finds it's musical highlight in it's self-titled finale. At nine minutes, this is very reminiscent of the same classic rock mini-epics that people would get excited about when they came onto FM radio. Although it does follow the same singer-songwriter format, Baird decides to take the obvious risk of drawing out his composition into something much more ambitious than his typical material. The album is capped off with an extended instrumental bout that builds up to a very optimistic finish.

'Further Out' is my first experience with the work of Ken Baird, but I hope it won't be my last. While the music isn't quite to the level of being considered 'amazing,' and the album is a tad inconsistent, Baird makes both an intelligent and heartfelt effort here, and it's felt strongly by this reviewer. Good work.

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 Further Out by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.63 | 12 ratings

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Further Out
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Interesting album from this Canadian talent!

His name is Ken Baird, a creative progressive rock artist who created his first album back in 1996 with the title of "August"; thirteen years later he released his so far latest album, entitled "Further Out", and the one I will review. With his music, we can enjoy once again a musician whose creativity and skills are very interesting, playing keyboards, guitars and singing, Ken Baird offers now a cool and gentle album which offers nine songs and a total time of 44 minutes.

The album opens with "Spinning Wheels" with a nice and comfortable sound, made mainly by the delicate piano and accompanied by cool drums, nice bass lines and a sweet female voice. Then the song changes and Ken Baird's voice appears for the first time, I like his voice it has a clean and soft sound that everyone could listen without getting annoyed. There is a nice guitar solo before the fourth minute, and then it slows down a little bit. Nice opening track.

"A Thousand Years" is a soft melodic piece that starts with piano and seconds later the voice appears. This is a light song that has some backing vocals and a tense background in moments, but honestly a forgettable one. Then we have "The Sound of Rain" which starts faster and seems to have more power on it. There is a constant keyboard sound that works as background and creates a cool atmosphere. The song keeps the same line until minute 2:30 when it slows down and the panorama changes, then it returns to its original form.

The next song could be actually like the second part of the previous one, or even of the first track, since it has a particular and alike sound. The music is again gentle and in moments catchy, comfortable and charming. However, in moments "Stainless Skies" becomes repetitive and boring, I don't mean to be harsh, but I had to say it.

"Where I came From" is another short, soft and catchy track, whose music is pretty nice and becomes better where the flute appears, there is also a nice guitar solo. I would have liked this as a longer song, but well it was the musician's decision. "As the Highway Greets a Friend" is a song I enjoy a lot because of that mix of soft and (in moments) heavier music, the chorus is pretty catchy, as a considerable part of the album is. Here there is a nice musical passage after minute three where the music creates different images and scenarios.

"Reflections in the Lake" is a melodic guitar acoustic-driven song that has nice vocals, keyboards and creates good nuances. However, in a bad day, I would skip this song, sorry Ken. "Everything to Lose" continues with that soft and catchy sound that clearly labels Ken Baird (at least on this site) as a crossover-prog artist. A chorus to sing, nice keyboard moments and good atmospheres that can make you enjoy this song. The addition of the flute always helps the music in this album.

The last track is the longest and what you would say the most progressive one. Entitled "Further Out", it starts with nice drums and keyboards that in some seconds create a clean structure, with a poppish sound; but later a cool keyboard solo adds that magic flavor that puts you in the music's mood. During the song we can enjoy the game of backing vocals creating harmony, until minute four where it stops and only a relaxing and atmospheric keyboard sound remains, this is a sweet moment actually. A minute later a new spacey sound appears and interplays with drums. That long instrumental passage is excellent, well composed and better transmitted. Later the female vocals that we heard on the first track appear again. This is the best track on the album, without a doubt.

The album is quite good, Ken Baird's talent is evident, however, I never felt as trapped by its music as I would have liked. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Further Out by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.63 | 12 ratings

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Further Out
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Sound of Rain

Although Pop-Prog is certainly an oxymoron if I've ever heard one, this particular music scene is constantly growing in high-quality modern musicians. One of these multi-instrumentalists and composers is Canada's Ken Baird. Further Out is his fifth album, and was released six years after his previous full-length, the critically praised Martin Road. So, needless to say, this album was quite an anticipated release by fans of Ken's distinct pop/prog style. If you're a newcomer, but enjoy acts like Radiohead, new-era Marillion, or Kevin Gilbert, this album should be right up your alley.

One thing that really amazed me about this album is Ken Baird's immense compositional talents. Although I can't fully appreciate everything about this release, Ken really knows how to craft a great song. Of the 9 songs on Further Out, my favorites are As Highway Greets a Friend, the IQ-esque Reflections in the Lake, and especially the epic Further Out. The rest of the songs are still very strong, but simply don't appeal to my own personal tastes very much. The second half of the album is far superior to the first half in my opinion, mostly due to the masterpiece of a title track. This ten-plus minute song is simply a masterpiece of progressive rock, and shows what Ken Baird is fully capable when he goes all-out. Had the whole album contained a few more songs as strong as this one, I surely would've been more enthusiastic about this release as a whole.

The musicianship on Further Out is very solid and professional. I especially have to applaud Ken Baird for mastering so many different instrument and vocal styles. There's nothing too overtly complex here, but the cast of musicians show their chops throughout Further Out.

The production is really great. It's clean, powerful, and very professional.

Conclusion:

Further Out is a high-quality, professional album from a very talented musician. If you're a fan of more commercial-sounding progressive rock, I can't recommend this album enough. If you're not a pop/prog fan, I can even highly recommend it because of the masterpiece of a title track. 3.5 stars are well deserved here for a solid, enjoyable album.

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 Further Out by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.63 | 12 ratings

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Further Out
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Canadian artist Ken Baird makes his agenda clear from the very first notes of opening track Spinning Wheels, where the long sustained guitar notes and rising piano runs immediately remind of driving on the open highway. For me, specifically, it elicits the thought of driving through the plains more than driving through the mountains, but that's perhaps an irrelevant note.

The music is built up on a backbone of guitars, keys, bass and drums - in short, the "classic" prog lineup, but in many ways it sounds unlike anything else in my prog collection. Ken's unique voice, which isn't powerful but instead endearing for it's honesty, is often the driving force behind the music, but that is not to imply that the instrumental aspect of the album suffers. The drummer provides a lot of energy, the keys provide texture, and the distinctive guitar playing is probably the strongest source of the open highway feeling of the album.

This is a song based album, and the compositions are generally strong. That being said, not a whole lot stands apart here. In general, the songs are all chilled-out sounding, with a few exceptions (the haunting childrens voices on A Thousand Years is one example). My favorite part of the album, though, is the title track, especially the synths/drums combo in the middle. The synths create some great electric energy, with the drumming popping in with a cool beat before giving the synths space; then the jump back in with another fill, and it just works amazingly.

Overall, a very good album with a distinctive sound that, as it stands, is unique in my prog collection.

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 Fields by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.69 | 7 ratings

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Fields
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I thought tonight would be the perfect time to review "Fields" considering Ken is doing a live show this evening. He asked me to come out but we were celebrating my son's birthday tonight so it didn't work out this time. So the next best thing is sitting down with one of Ken's meaningful cds and getting lost in another world for an hour. By the way our own loserboy (James Unger) was the emcee at the Baird concert tonight. As with all Baird albums we get a great combination of thoughtful lyrics to go along with Ken's intimate vocals. Sue Fraser and her beautiful voice are like the icing on the cake on this one. Great picture on the album cover of Ken getting ready to throw that 2 foot cardboard airplane out in the fields. It's hard for me to explain but this music is so down to earth and meaningful. It's about real things and everyday life.

"New Universe" is a song Ken says he still plays live and if you hear it you'll know why. Kind of spacey to open before this relaxed and steady beat comes in. Vocals before a minute. Susan follows with some vocal melodies. What a great sounding track. Guitar after 4 minutes. "Little Air To Breathe" is another outstanding track. This is my favourite. I like the atmosphere as Ken comes in with reserved vocals. A nice beat with piano here. I really like when the sound gets a little fuller. Contrasts continue. Susan sings backup after 2 minutes. We get some trumpet after 3 1/2 minutes. Guitar follows. Check out the orchestral keys late that remind me of COLLAGE's "Moonshine" album. "There Is A Place" is mostly vocals and piano although we get some recorder a minute in. "Firefly" opens with recorder and strummed guitar. Vocals join in. Susan helps out and she really adds a lot to this track. A fuller sound a minute in. A bit of a Celtic vibe when the whistles come in. "Awake In The Dark" features gorgeous piano melodies throughout with vocals. Interesting lyrics on this one. Beautiful track.

"No Easy Path" opens with drums, piano and vocals. Check out the piano after a minute. Nice. It then turns dark before kicking back in with those uptempo piano melodies. Penny whistles 4 minutes in. "Into Night" is the longest track at over 11 minutes. There are those COLLAGE-like orchestral keyboards again with guitar, bass and drums. Great sound ! Susan comes in with Ken after a minute. Dual vocals but Susan's voice is more dominant. Themes are repeated. Some penny whistles and piano on this song too. "The Pond" is led by vocals and piano but we do get some recorder followed by some sax after 2 1/2 minutes. "3000 Blue Mountains" has no lyrics but lots of vocal melodies from Ken and Susan.This is so uplifting and moving. A real lush and rich sound too. If I go down to the beach where I live and look out over the bay to the west there is a mountain that's called Blue Mountain. Lots of skiing there in the winter, it's about a 20 minute drive.

"Martin Road" is still my favourite Ken Baird album but this deserves 4 stars without a doubt.

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 Further Out by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.63 | 12 ratings

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Further Out
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Canada's Ken Baird is among a few prog musicians like Guy Manning and Like Wendy's Bert Heinen who simply do not get enough recognition, even though they have sizable discographies and sterling material. They create with the implicit understanding that they will never knock on the hallowed gates of fame and displace the current flavor of the month (Lady Gaga?). They are artists because they express their inner spirit within a musical framework that has the least amount of respect anyway. As I love to say ad nauseam lately "Forgive them for they do not understand"! I have enjoyed all of Ken's previous albums from 1998's "Fields", followed by "Orion" and "Martin Road", a personal musical journey that has no hint of undue pretense, no cheap cloning of past greats or current upstarts and no abdication to commercialism. He is a melancholic balladeer who prefers padding some simple symphonics than any hip gloss that has no substance. "Spinning Wheels" is a tremendous introduction; swooning and densely atmospheric melodies are conjuring up feelings of springtime rebirth, deliberately increasing the melancholia, especially when Baird sings with such verve and vigor. The main chorus is heavenly, the verses heartbreakingly intertwined, the sedate guitar solo slowly building in emotive harmony, exploding into a paroxysm of bliss. Mother dear! What a track! "A Thousand Years" is more piano-personal based, where the voice takes over in angelic exuberance , childlike choirs spicing up the infinite sonic space, the impression is one of a maturely saccharine outlay of emotion. "The Sound of Rain" has a wobbly bass undertone but within another very up-beat gloomy kind of vibe. There are some pleading moments that make this very "song" oriented prog, but the musicians manage to convey a certain "recherché" musical palette that is immediately appealing. "Stainless Skies" is unfortunately a bit timid, a puerile mix of countryfied rock and pure balladism (sounding almost like Bread). With an extended slo-mo axe solo that doesn't convince at all. Nothing too great here for my ears anyway. "Where I Came From" is a leap back into the personal style that suits Ken best, a very proggy pop that is inherently gentle and emotionally secure. The lyrics are intense and the flute á la Celtique formulates well within the "good music" confines. The next one is a fine rock 'n roller , with dreamy vocals but a fiery rhythmic attack that highlights the groove parts , something that Steve Wilson would conjure up in another setting. There is guitar section that worms slowly into the brain, twirling magical notes quickly reverting to the various shifts from harsh, to exalted to pastoral. "Reflections on the Lake" is a drop-dead gorgeous hymn that glitters in the moonlight, painting more stars on the galaxial expanse, I quake with trembling knees when hearing such beauty. Magnificent piece of music (Mr. Hackett would be proud). "Everything to Lose" is another bluesy plaint that has piano and voice as main culprits, yet loaded with symphonics and contrasting themes once again. A piano solo is followed by a delightful flute foray and enveloped in synthesized parallels. Easy listening prog this is nevertheless, so don't expect atonal- technical stuff here, just a great unpretentious song! The final and title cut is the clincher, making this into another great effort. I still prefer his earlier material but there is a lot of intensely personal music here. This final track is grandiose, plaintive and passionate both instrumentally and vocally. First a wispy series of synth whistle solos catch the ear in awe, nice, then the vocals become more ardent with a huge chorus that stains the brain again. But the masterpiece moment is the extended gloomy mist, pulsating synthesizers inviting in a barrage of manic drum rifling, that is simply put , spectacular ! Chris Lamont has just entered fame, as his drumming is now set down for all to hear for eternity. Sue Fraser adds her beautiful voice to the celestial (been using that word a lot lately!) explosion, my feel is that she could have been more present in the previous tracks , as the two voices together could have made things even more interesting. A final synth farewell puts this one "further out". Needs to be heard as another good example of originality within rather strict guidelines. Thank you, Ken . 4 forest photos

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 Further Out by BAIRD, KEN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.63 | 12 ratings

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Further Out
Ken Baird Crossover Prog

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The magic has returned ! I have been patiently waiting for the release of "Further Out" and I can tell you it has been worth the wait! This album marks the 5th release for Baird and once again reveals his evolution in singing, song writing and personal inspirations. Immediately recognizable is the standout guitar work of new member Andrew Aldridge who compliments Ken's symphonic stylings to perfection. Also returning to grace this album is both Steve Cochrane (guitar) and Sue Fraser (vocals) who opens and closes the album off which brings a certain degree of circularity to this whole CD. 2003's "Martin Road" gave us my vote for song of the year in the highly imaginative "Victoria Day" and now with "Further Out" my 2009 choice is already very clear with the delicate and harmonic "Stainless Skies". Fans of longer tracks will love the final and title song which clocks in just a tad over 10 mins and features a little bit of just about everything! You must go out and buy this CD !!!

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