STUDY GUITAR WITH LISA @ NOTEABLE NOTES IN WHEATON ILLINOIS
Shredding the ‘blonde from California’ stereotype Lisa Baker smartens up the image of the female guitarist. Many artists struggle to establish their musical identity, trying on new styles like jewelry, hoping to find something that suits them. Lisa’s emerges fully in command of her craft with her musical identity intact. Her 2002 release CD, Song For A New Day, Lisa takes on multiple roles, including those of producer, composer, singer and guitarist. She is uniquely gifted in her ability to improvise alongside Grammy winning Oteil Burbride and Victor Wooten as well as Derico Watson (SMV), Regi, Wooten (Victor Wooten) and Joseph Wooten (Steve Miller) putting her in a category all on her own. But, what stands out is her ability to fuse guitar prowess with original singer-songwriter compositions.
A California girl who grew up in Kirkland Washington, As a child she played music to entertain herself because she had a health condition that separated her from other kids. Lisa explains, “Because I was alone so much, I played out my feelings on the piano, hours at a time.” Ms. Baker said, “When my mom would play Jazz and Pop standards I would put on the vocal. I really love the sound of Gershwin and Rogers and Hart as well as the folk music I heard from artists like Judy Collins, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. There’s a warmth and timelessness that I naturally gravitate towards in both genres of music.” It wasn’t until Lisa’s senior year in High School that she found the guitar. Baker stated, “I borrowed my mother’s acoustic guitar and she never got it back.” Almost immediately Lisa began playing in church groups and in chapel at college. Strumming folk songs and occasionally writing originals, Like taking a big plunge from a high tower Lisa stepped out of her marriage with then Vice President, Jeffrey Beals of the William Morris Agency to pursue her musical ambitions. As crazy as it sounds she embarked on a musical career with no child support for their daughter, Alexandra who was then 5. Then 30 something, Ms. Baker began studying lead guitar with Regi Wooten. Seeing her dedication to music, her friendship with the Wooten family grew and provided a unique education, which resulted in her 2002 CD, Song For A New Day.
Lisa has been a solo warm-up artist for Rodney Dangerfield, Poco, Alabama, Ricky Skaggs and Tina Turner and she has travelled playing in Japan, Europe and across North America. For 8 years she was a feature artist with the Wooten Brothers in Nashville Tennessee and the church guitarist at Ebeneezer Community Church. Ms. Baker endorses Cort and Godin guitars, Peavey amplifiers and plays regularly at NAMM shows with Award Winning Bassist, Writer, and Producer, Bill Dickens. Baker explains, “being around great musicians like Mr. Dickens and the Wooten family has provided me fabulous opportunities to play with some of the greatest musicians on the planet. I remember riding on the tour bus, someplace in Kentucky when Victor asked me to help him with the merchandise. I was a bit reluctant, so, being the kind an appreciative soul that he is, he had me come up and play with the band. I had to have bodyguards walk me off the stage because the crowd was going crazy. They took me to the back of the venue where Vic had me sit along side of him and sign autographs.” Through the years Ms. Baker has recorded guitar on other peoples CD’s, had her songs recorded by various singers and been featured in a couple films.
With her daughter grown Lisa moved to Chicago to study guitar at Northern Illinois University, While attending NIU I did an independent study with Dr. Glenda Cosenza (former head of Music Education). For this class I authored a chapter in her new textbook , Guitar Pedagogy For The General Music Classroom from ,Teaching Music in The 21st Century. Glenda invited me to present a power point which I had developed entitled, ‘Guitar Heroine: Where are the girls in the band?’ at the Music Educators Convention in St. Louis. Lisa explains, “since this convention I have given this presentation numerous times and the reaction from women who see experience it always fuels me. It’s like they’ve been touched in a very deep way by seeing other women who have gone through the struggles that they have had to endure. It’s inspirational, giving them encouragement to keep playing.”
Lisa graduated the first female in NIU’s history with a Masters in Music (in Guitar). This was an amazing accomplishment for a girl who’s undergraduate degree was in Psychology. She says her greatest musical education, which eclipsed all of her college career has come from Bill Dickens. She recalls, “It was at the 2012 Winter NAMM Show that Bill didn’t send me home to work on some aspect of my playing. This is when I knew I was getting somewhere. He’s sweet but, tough.”
Chicago has proved to be a good move for Lisa. Having come from Nashville where there aren’t enough venues or population for all the guitarists that live there, Chicago has been like a musical paradise. All the little café’s have provided her a place to experiment and craft her expression. Using a looper (where she can record on the spot) Ms. Baker is able to layer musical elements and create a full sound. Lisa explains, “people who hear me before they see who’s playing often comment that they were surprised to see one person playing – they thought I was a band. The ability to play the roles of different instruments in the band allows me to get deeper inside the music and continually experiment, keeping things new.”
Lisa is currently, working on a new CD, which will be called, Winter Bloom. She says, “I am writing the songs that I have always wanted to write and am really excited to reach a larger audience with this new material." She hopes to have this new recording completed in 2014.
Articles & Reviews
L's Turning Point
1987, Hurricane Gilbert, Cancun Mexico
In September 1988 my husband (at the time), infant daughter and myself flew to the Mexican resort area of Cancun for a 4 day vacation. We were hit by Hurricane Gilbert, a category-5 storm that ravaged the Yucatan Peninsula with 23-foot waves and 218 mph winds. The army evacuated us at gun point from our hotel and took us to an abandoned machine shop. Everybody was sitting on the floor waiting for the unknown. Some people had tuberculosis and were coughing horribly, but there was no way to get them to a hospital. We took out the windows before they could implode. My family was given two long metal bookcases to sleep in. During the first night, sheets of roofing flew right over our heads, nearly hitting us. There was no food until we bribed a man to open up his shop and sell us Ritz crackers, cheese and soda. All I had for my 8 month old daughter, Ali, was three diapers and three bottles. Somebody gave me condensed milk and distilled water in tiny blue containers. I mixed these and fed them to Ali. She didn't cry one time during the whole ordeal. A few days later the storm still raging, we were taken in by a Mexican family whose pregant wife felt compassion for us. We slept on the floor in their living room. They were so poor that they had no beds for their own babies, but they shared with us what food they had: hamburger meat and cookies.
When the hurrican finally passed, we commandeered a bus to take us back to the main part of town. The storm had destroyed buildings, uprooted palm tress and tossed boats ashore and on top of mountains. The ocean waters were black. The airport was demolished. There was no radio tower, no radio communication. Nearly 200,000 were left homeless. I saw one man killed by the army for stealing. On the street we passed an old lady and a little boy with three boxes lined up in fornt of the. each box had a toy sitting on top of it. That's all they had, that's all that was left. Comercial airplane pilots volunteered to fly people out of Cancun. We flew to Atlanta and took a taxi to the Ritz Carlton. We hadn't bathed in a week. Some of us hadn't brushed our teeth in a week. We had nothing. Atlanta was hosting the Olympic Games at the time. Exeryone else at the hotel was celebrating and drinking martinis, untouched by the hurricane. I however, had completely changed. For the first time in my life I wanted to help people - you might say, a social conscience emerged where there had been none before. My heart cried out to God, "What can I do to help people?" And a voice, clear in my head, answered, " What do you want to do?" "I want to make music," I answered. And the voice said, "Well go do it!" So I said to myself, "No matter what anyone thinkis about this, I'm going to create music. Music based off of and inspired by the experiences in my life.
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Buy Song For A New Day at: https://lisabakermusic.bandcamp.com