Michael Baker has been associated with the Boston rock scene since the '80s, but in the late '90s he relocated to Nashville and began concentrating on managing the singer Patty Griffin. Obviously understanding the philosophy of "a little bit country, a little bit rock & roll," Baker convinced Griffin's label, A&M, to bring in Nashville rocker Jay Joyce for her sessions, winding up with tracks such as "Let It Fly" and "Every Little Bit." Baker's interest in morphing genres dates back to his involvement with the Boston band Rings in the early '80s, sometimes compared by critics to the sound of the better-known Cars. A zenith of sorts was reached in the mid-'90s when Baker collaborated with Carmelo Licata and formed his town's first and only all-acoustic classic rock cover band.
The band called itself Anthology and perhaps was able to pass a CD box set in the process. Anthology featured a wide variety of instruments, as long as they were acoustic, including the djembe and a miniature bass fiddle. With a repertoire including tunes by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Eagles, the group did quite well in New England venues. In the fall of 1997, original material began poking its way into the mix. The duo added drummer Sean Muise and eventually evolved into the Dead River Band.