Art & Soul

Hey Rosetta! Front­man tour­ing solo per­for­mance

The Central Voice - - Front Page - Carolyn R. Par­sons Carolyn R. Par­sons is an au­thor who lives in Cen­tral New­found­land and Labrador. She can be reached at car­olyn­r­par­sons@gmail.com.

As the days close in and the heat of Au­gust makes way for the crisp­ness of au­tumn, a tree in our back­yard has been turn­ing a deep red. It be­gan with a few leaves on the eastern side of it, but now it has a full blos­som of scar­let in its very cen­ter that in­di­cates that change is upon us. Fall is a colour­ful gift that soft­ens the blow of win­ter’s in­evitable harsh­ness.

Change is im­mi­nent and un­avoid­able, not just in the shift to a new sea­son. Tim Baker –for­merly of Hey Rosetta! – is cer­tainly in the mid­dle of a big me­ta­mor­pho­sis. Now, a year af­ter the band an­nounced it was on an in­def­i­nite hia­tus, their founder and front­man is trav­el­ling around per­form­ing at small venues, sort­ing through the 80 or so songs he’d set aside, writ­ing new ones as he re­de­fines him­self as a solo artist.

“It’s not bet­ter, or worse, it’s just dif­fer­ent,” and it’s been “nice, quiet, easy,” he says of the past year. He also says, “It’s not nearly so much fun.”

The solo tour is an at­tempt to “road-test the songs,” by play­ing in­ti­mate house con­certs. It is quite the con­trast to the large venues of re­cent years as the group be­came one of the most pop­u­lar bands in the coun­try.

“You’re just there, by your­self,” he says of this new ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s daunt­ing even for a sea­soned per­former. Af­ter a dozen years with a band to hand things off to, to run things by, ev­ery piece of the per­for­mance is now him, alone on stage.

When writ­ing for Hey Rosetta!, Tim says he “wrote for the char­ac­ter of the band,” be­cause there was a cer­tain sound they tried to main­tain. Now, as a solo artist, who says he “likes ev­ery­thing, when it comes to mu­sic,” finds it more com­pli­cated be­cause he has to fig­ure out the Tim Baker sound.

I ad­mit I thought that Tim’s new re­al­ity should be easy af­ter all, he’s been in a highly suc­cess­ful band and it should be an easy launch.

I learned that’s not nec­es­sar­ily true. Along with the new found free­dom to write, sing and per­form what he wishes, there is also a resid­ual ex­pec­ta­tion from fans. If a Tim Baker song doesn’t sound much like a Hey Rosetta! song, then will it be ac­cepted?

As Tim moves for­ward through this tran­si­tion, I’m struck by how thought­ful he is over the process. How he’s not leaped into the wake of his band suc­cess, but rather waited for the waves to sub­side. He’s got an al­bum fin­ished, but it won’t come out un­til Fe­bru­ary or March. He’s play­ing sev­eral venues around the prov­ince, but they’re small shows in Twillingate, Fogo Is­land and Bot­wood. There is no hurry and he seems un­daunted by hav­ing to start anew.

As we chat­ted about so­cial en­ter­prises, the en­vi­ron­ment, song­writ­ing and New­found­land and Labrador and our mu­tual love of the place, it dawned on me that choos­ing change is some­thing a lot of peo­ple avoid.

I re­mem­ber hav­ing mis­er­able jobs but not quit­ting. Yet there is no job I ever lost that didn’t leave me bet­ter off in the long run – if not fi­nan­cially, at least spir­i­tu­ally. So why didn’t I choose to change? Why did I have an aver­sion to some­thing that hap­pened any­way?

Mak­ing the choice would have been bet­ter than hav­ing it forced upon me.

Now I wouldn’t sug­gest any­body kick over the cof­fee ta­ble, drop a match at the front door and burn down your whole life. In­stead, if you want to start down an­other path, make plans, im­ple­ment things bit by bit, work to­wards goals, and by the time you make the big jump, you’ll be pre­pared.

A rut is deep, warm and cozy and it’ll keep you safe but do any of us re­ally want to live in a rut?

Deb­bie Boone, one-hit won­der and pur­veyor of wis­dom once said, “In Dreams are the seeds of change. Noth­ing ever grows with­out a seed, and noth­ing ever changes with­out a dream.”

Art is born of dreams, and you can’t plant the seeds of your dreams if you’re liv­ing in a bar­ren field.

The com­plete in­ter­view with Tim Baker can be found at: www.car­olyn­r­par­sons.ca. Find Tim Bak­ers tour dates at: www. tim­baker.net.

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