Ken Baker has been playing steel guitar for 40 years. His first interest and experience was through his mother Edna Baker who introduced him to Hawaiian lap steel.
Early influences such as Rob E G on an A major 6 string tuning found Ken’s passion in the sound of the instrument, as experience and enthusiasm grew he purchased a triple neck 8 string Fender guitar.
Years later Ken was to hear ‘Lloyd Green’ playing a tune called ‘touch my heart’ on Tamworth radio station 2TM, this was a new sound and the first time he had heard a Pedal Steel.
Only months after Ken was introduced to Pee Wee Clarke who came to Albury with the Reg Lindsay show, that same night after the show he ordered an Emmons Pedal steel guitar which Pee Wee shipped over for him later that year.
Ken Bakers career includes numerous highlights, experiences and friendships including his 1976 USA trip with Benny Joyner were he met the likes of Buddy Emmons, Lloyd Green, Doug Jernigan, Curly Chalker, and a very young Paul Franklin just to name a few.
Through another friendship with George Xanthos Ken also attended and performed at the Melbourne steel guitar conventions.
Remaining an Albury based musician Ken has numerous credits to his name including hundreds of live band performances with Stainless Steel, Gemini Four, Baker street, various freelance performances, other highlights include 1978 tour with Jimmy Little, later years saw Ken work with Ray, Lee and Tania Kernaghan. Ken has performed at the Tamworth country music festival several times including his 1992 tour with Freeway/Tulsa band. He has performed with large Albury festivals including the ’Albury-Wodonga Carols by candlelight’ which has included backing names such as – Tina Arena, Rick Price, Danni Minouge.
From his first album release with Stainless Steel “Movin on” he has recorded with several various country artists over the years.
More recent times Ken has work with Paul Gibbs – ‘Swing Ranch’ and ‘Smokin Joe’ as well as other local duos and trios such as ‘the Bull Plain riders’.
Instrument – Emmons D10 (push pull) 8 floor pedals 6 knee levers
Amplifier – Peavy session 400
Effects – Emmons ultra match, Zoom digital delay/ Reverb, Turbo Rat
Favourite players – Too numerous to mention. “It is a very individual instrument which delivers something different from whoever plays it”
Musical Influences – Hawaiian, Mod jazz, swing, country
Ambitions – To see steel guitar expanded more in today’s and tomorrow’s music.
To encourage more young people to take up the instrument.
Kens conclusion – “The steel guitar is a very unique instrument, may digital technology never rob it of its warmth and uniqueness”