Out to make mu­si­cal magic

Adam Bax­ter and His Best Friends look­ing to recre­ate gig of a life­time in St. John’s

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY TARA BRAD­BURY tbrad­[email protected]­gram.com Twit­ter: @tara_brad­bury

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

al­bum.

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.

Lewis­porte-based singer/song­writer and mu­sic teacher Adam Baxter is play­ing a gig at The Ship Satur­day night, his first since the re­lease of his de­but stu­dio al­bum, “Clean Hands.”

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