Adam Baker: ‘Winter Funk’
It’s a musical light for those dark winter days — and nights.
Adam Baker is a musical man about town. The Fort Wayne musician has been known to make the noise with Adam Baker & The Heartache, lay the funk down in Minivan Hot Tub, or strum the ukulele with A Couple of Ukes alongside Leah Fey. If there’s an accordion power trio playing an Elks Clubs or American Legion, it’s more than likely got Baker in it.
In 2021, Baker released the solo album Junk Drawer, which was his first since Adam Baker & The Heartache were born in 2015. Baker’s solo work is kind of all over the place, with touches of blues, soul, alternative, and classic rock that come together in a very Midwestern music gumbo. If you like music at all, chances are you’ll find something to dig in Baker’s music.
Winter Funk is another album largely written, produced, performed, and conceived solely by Baker with the help of a couple of good friends. The album explores everything from Americana acoustic strummers to trip hop beats and soulful guitar solos and everything in between.
Winter Funk opens with the country shuffle of “Bare Feet,” a minor key strummer that touches on everything from Tom Petty to Todd Snyder. There’s even a solid flamenco guitar solo thrown in for good measure. Then we go right into the wonky “Quit This Job” that’s got vinyl pops and crackles, calliope organ, and a Dust Brothers-like beat. “Goodbye to the Darkness” is a melancholy little jingle filled with melodic swells and an “appreciate what you have” message. It’s maybe something late-era George Harrison would have recorded.
If you were wondering if this funk was the “funky” kind or the “bummer” kind, title track “Winter Funk” answers that with its low key acoustic instrumentation and almost Sufjan Stevens vibe. These are songs for coping with cold days, long nights, and existential unknowns. “Groundhog Day” does bring a little bit o’ funk with touches of Dr. Dog and of Montreal flavor, while “Cold War #2” brings the old-timey feels with mandolin and a shuffle rhythm. The album ends on a wistful instrumental “Winter’s End” that is reminiscent of Jon Brion and Michael Penn film score work.
Winter Funk has a little of everything. It’s a musical light for those dark winter days — and nights.