Carry Me Home
It’s got to be hard hanging out your shingle as a Dylan-influenced singer-songwriter in a town with such a charismatic songwriter as Jackie Greene already on the scene. But Sherman Baker, on his debut CD, manages to make a pretty good case for himself. Stylistically, he mines the same terrain as Greene (who plays organ and lead guitar here, on the “Subterranean Homesick Blues”-like “The Boy Who Wins the Prize”), but Baker’s voice is slightly more countrified than Greene’s. Some songs are a bit derivative—“All Through the Night” sounds too close to Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire”—but when Baker scores, like he does on “Highway Prayer,” which achieves its pastoral, Jimmy Webb-like effect through the use of repetition underscored by dreamlike pedal steel, the result is a marvel to behold.