Country & western guitarist Mike Baker, who has a flair for backing female vocalists and can whip out a mean slide guitar solo, has been a presence on the Nashville studio scene since the early '70s. He was 18 then, and secured a gig as a bassist for the maybe marvelous, maybe mediocre Marty Martel. It was a stepping stone, either way: Baker fired up his guitar like a gas oven and went on to play both rhythm and lead for leaders such as Billy Walker, Tommy Cash, Eddie Raven, Dottie West, Jim Ed Brown, and Helen Cornelius. In 1979, the guitarist began working with Vern Gosdin. Session calls began from the likes of the boisterous David Alan Coe; the nutritious Bobby G. Rice; the romantic Freddy Hart; and the devilish duo of Moe Bandy & Joe Stampley, who briefly lost Baker's attention when they decided to dress up like Boy George for a music video.

Grizzly bears are more Baker's thing than English pop stars, this much can be established from a combo he has led since the late '90s, the Grizzly Rose Band. That's not to say he is totally obsessed with country. Actually, he lists his favorite music as classic rock and in a publicity release makes special mention of finally getting to see Grand Funk Railroad in concert after 30 years, a remark that surely earns him the following response: "Get a life!" Of course, he does have a life, a very typical one for Nashville. He cuts demos for songwriters, some of them the authors of historic country hits, including Max D. Barnes, Hank Cochran, and Harlan Howard. Sitting at the feet of such men, Baker learned the songwriting craft and has made use of these talents in collaboration with artists such as Debrah Kay, contributing both songs and production expertise to two of her releases. Baker also plays the Grand Ole Opry, frequently in the company of Brown. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi