Midnight To The Morning Light
I didn’t grow up singing or playing music. I’ve never had voice lessons, and it wasn’t until after graduating from college that I started teaching 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 fifth studio album, Morning Light, I can barely believe it.
My performing career began in the smoky corners of Knoxville, TN’s restaurants and bars, singing cover songs for distracted drunks and underage college students. I hadn’t seriously considered pursuing a career in music until May 9, 2007, after an unexpected opportunity to open for John Legend at Knoxville’s Tennessee Theatre. The guy that walked on stage that night, wasn’t the same guy that walked off. One set, six songs in just thirty minutes, changed my life forever.
Since then, I’ve shared a tour bus with Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers, performed in front of crowds of over 20,000 people, and been lucky enough to share the stage with artists like Brandi Carlile, Heart, Gavin DeGraw, the Goo Goo Dolls, Grace Potter, James Blunt, Edwin McCain, Chris Isaak, and Daughtry, as well as tour Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, performing for our men and women in uniform stationed overseas.
Music has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. It’s taken me to parts of the world I would’ve never seen and connected me with lifelong friends 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, Mandy, and my daughter, Annabelle Rose Baker. However, at the same time, music almost tore my life apart.
From 2010 through 2013, I was touring over 200 days a year. By many standards, I was living the dream, but life on the road was taking its toll. While my music career had never been better, my personal life had never been worse. At home, waiting for 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. I was at an intersection in my life and a choice had to be made. I could continue down the road I was on, whatever the cost, or change my direction and come home.
Thankfully, I made the choice to refocus on my family, and in January of 2014, I put down my guitar and started picking up the pieces. I stopped recording and touring, and traded the stage lights, for front porch lights, but as it turns out, the day that I decided to stop making music, was the day a new chapter in my music career began.
One of the most important things I’ve learned is that you get what you give in this life. 5 years ago, I GOT a second chance, and everything that’s happened has GIVEN me this moment.
Today, I am a better husband. I’m a better father, and hopefully, I’m a better songwriter. Music may have tried to tear my family apart, but now it’s graciously bringing us back together. So, I see music as a celebration of every wrong turn and right turn that has led me here, and not a day goes by that I don’t give thanks for that old wooden box with six strings.
Here’s to the hope that keeps us holding on and to never losing sight of the things that are truly important. Here’s to the promise and possibility of each NEW DAY. Here’s to the beauty of the present moment and to trying our best to make the most of it. The road here has not been easy, but over the last few years, I’ve learned that if you look hard enough, the shadows always show us the light. Midnight to the Morning Light.