I didn’t grow up singing or playing music. I’ve never had voice lessons, and it wasn’t until after I graduated college that I started to teach myself how to play guitar. So if you’d told me then that I’d end up making a living as a singer-songwriter, I wouldn't have believed you. Even now, with the release of my third full length studio album, Dear Amanda, I can barely believe it.
Music has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. It’s taken me to parts of the world I would’ve never seen and connected me with people I would’ve never met. It’s given my life purpose. Without music, I may have never met the two greatest loves of my life, my wife, Amanda, and my daughter, Annabelle Rose Baker. However, at the same time, music almost tore my life apart.
I wish I could say that the road to this new record was easy, but it wasn’t. In fact, there was a time when I wasn’t sure if I’d ever record another song, but as it turns out, the day that I decided to stop making music, was the day that Dear Amanda began.
From 2010 through 2013, I spent around 200 days a year on the road touring. I was traveling all over the world, sharing the stage with amazing artists like John Legend, James Blunt, Gavin DeGraw, Edwin McCain, the Goo Goo Dolls, Grace Potter, Brandi Carlile, and Heart. By many standards, I was living the dream. What I couldn’t see at the time though, was that every step forward in my career, was a step away from my family.
At home, waiting on me, was the life that I’d dreamed of, and I was missing it. First words were being spoken, first steps taken, and it was all passing me by like road signs on the highway. Sadly, the two people I was working hardest to protect, were the ones getting hurt the most.
Then one day I walked into an empty house and found my wife’s wedding ring on the kitchen table along with a note that read, “I will not be sorry for the choice YOU made.” Suddenly, success as a singer-songwriter didn’t seem nearly as important if it meant failing as a husband and as a father.
Thankfully, I made the choice to refocus on my family. I stopped recording and touring, and traded the stage lights, for front porch lights. Dear Amanda is the story of my journey back home.
So you may be wondering, why in the world would I want to make a new album and risk the chance of driving down those same roads again? The answer is easy. One of the things my wife and I realized is that few find what they are truly meant to do in this life. So despite our struggles, I look at myself as one of the lucky ones, because I know that a big part of my purpose in this world is to write songs and to sing them. We just had to figure out how to make music as a family.
One of the most important things I’ve learned is that you get what you give in this life. 3 years ago, I GOT a second chance, and everything that’s happened has GIVEN me this moment…THIS album. But Dear Amanda is not only a message to my family, it’s a message to everyone who is battling for balance in their life.
Today, I am a better husband. I’m a better father, and hopefully, I’m a better songwriter. Music may have tried to tear us apart, but graciously, these new songs helped bring us back together. So, here’s to the people that make us better than we could ever be on our own. Their names may be different, but what they mean to us is the same. Here’s to your Dear Amanda.