Ken Baird

Fields

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Fields marked a departure for Canadian keyboardist/songwriter Ken Baird. His first CD August contained long instrumental symphonic pieces. On Fields, he turned to the song format and sang accompanied by Sue Fraser. Baird has a gift for writing melodies. Years of listening to Mike Oldfield taught him how to craft unforgettable vocal lines and dress them with lush arrangements. "Little Air to Breathe," "Firefly," and "Awake in the Dark" are all beautiful pop songs colored by progressive rock touches. Baird's dreamy voice perfectly fits the mood, although the music gets one step closer to heaven when Sue Fraser backs him (she would sing lead on half the tracks of Baird's following CD, Orion). Two longer numbers, "No Easy Path" and "Into Night," dive into prog rock territory with great efficiency. Considering this album was recorded at home on an eight-track mixer and that instrumentation includes piano, keyboards, guitars (both acoustic and electric), bass, drums, vocals, and recorder, Fields is a D.I.Y. miracle. When Baird resorts to drum programming on a few tracks, it hardly shows and still fits the piece (the best example would be "New Universe"). Fields revealed in Ken Baird a first-class songwriter that could appeal to both progressive rock fans and a broader audience interested in intelligent pop -- if only he could find a record contract in order to reach such an audience.

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