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Now Hear This: Home Again - James Lee Baker

Rating: ***1/2

James Lee Baker is a classically trained musician that has performed all over America and Canada with his unique blend of country-tinged folk music.

He brings to us "Home Again" and according to his bio it's Texas-inspired. He got a whole load of super talented session musicians and kicked this one out.

He lists John Gorka and Bob Dylan as influences and if you know me, you know how much I love those two.

Let's see how much Dylan-esque magic Baker can conjure up on this one. Even if it's just a little bit, that should be plenty for a pleasant listening experience.

Listen to "Home Again" in its entirety on Spotify by clicking here.

"The Candian River" is the lead off on the album and was also the lead single. It's a solid folky number that I could see getting a lot of spins on folk radio. Very NPR. "Two Cageless Birds" sounds a little like a Jim Croce tune. It's slow and earnest and I really dig it. "Disappear for the Weekend" has more of a modern country vibe. Definitely more upbeat than the prior tracks. Solid if unspectacular. "If I Stay Here With You" takes the country ballad plunge and it's a good sound for Baker here. I'm not blown away, but every track has been good thus far. So that's something right? "The First Time" sounds a little dated and is only okay. "A Place For You & Me" is a ballad that works for the most part. It's a little slow-moving and lyrically kinda cheesy, but it's sweet and sentimental and I'm a sucker for that. "More This Time" picks up the pace with a lovely and catchy track that will almost certainly have you singing along by the end. I actually went back and listened to this one again after the original listen. My favorite tune on the entire LP thus far. "Cowtown Blues" isn't bad, but it's not my favorite. "That Look in Your Eyes" is the best ballad on the record and the grand finale "Stand Alone" starts with a gorgeous piano intro and is lyrically one of the strongest tracks on the LP. Good way to end it.

If you're into western-flavored folk music in the vein of Bob Dylan and Jim Crose, there's gonna be more than enough on "Home Again" to tickle your fancy. Very good album that's a breakout single short of excellent. I recommend it.

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