The Telegram (St. John's)
Out to make musical magic
Adam Baxter and His Best Friends looking to recreate gig of a lifetime in St. John’s
After Adam Baxter played a showcase in Bonavista during MusicNL Week last month, he felt that he could die happy.
“It was the best show of my life,” he said. “Without a doubt, the best gig. I said after that it was the gig I had been searching for.”
Baxter and His Best Friends (that’s the name of his band, which consists of Justin Hickey and Jason Howard) are looking to recreate the magic of that MusicNL Week show when they come to town for a gig at The Ship Friday night.
Baxter is a singer/songwriter, raised in Nova Scotia and developed, as he says, in Newfoundland. Having completed a music degree, he moved to Lewisporte in 2013 and works as a school music teacher.
Though he’s been well-established in the local music scene for a while — at one point playing five shows a week while working full-time and attending MUN full-time as well — “Clean Hands” is his debut studio CD, released this past summer.
“That’s a good question,” Baxter says when asked what took him so long to make an album. “When I was a student, I was financially self-sufficient. I paid for everything myself and I could never afford to do a full album in a studio.”
Despite only releasing the album this year, Baxter was
nominated for last year’s Male Artist of the Year MusicNL award, and won the Music Educator of the Year awards in 2014 and 2015. He was also behind the Epic Songwriters Series, a series of singer/songwriter showcases in St. John’s.
When Baxter moved to Lewisporte, he met Dean Stairs of Citadel House, a music company that hosts bimonthly live concerts in the old Salvation Army Citadel building. The building also houses a recording facility, and Stairs was looking to start a record label. Last year, Baxter signed on and made his
The songs on “Clean Hands” were written over the past few years.
“I always found time to write, and to do the RPM Challenge,”
Baxter explained. The annual challenge sees musicians writing and recording a CD of original music during the month of February.
“Two-thirds of the album was written before I moved to central, and the rest afterwards, when I had more time to sit down and write.”
Stairs gives Baxter a pretty ringing endorsement: “Listening to (his) music is like shooting a double espresso while reading a letter from home.”
“Clean Hands” is a reflection on life, Baxter says, including love, social interactions, happiness and family. “Old White House” is his favourite track.
“It’s about the house my grandmother grew up in and my mom grew up in,” he explains. “Every time I go to visit my parents in Nova Scotia, we pass it. My nan passed away in 2009 and I had a hard time coping with it until I said, OK, I’m going to try and sit down and put my thoughts out into this.”
Friday night’s show at The Ship will start at 10:30 with Kalem Mahoney, Andrew LeDrew and Streel before Baxter and His Best Friends take the stage. Cover charge is $10.