Lane Baldwin’s new release, The View From Here, is a man on the top of a high mountain, looking down at his life from a new vantage point. He sees the world at ground level every day, but what happens when he steps back to find that new view, when he finds himself as only one heartbeat in the symphony of life?
That’s the theme of the album as I see it: sobering and introspective. Stepping out of his space may help him find the bigger picture, but when he sees the view from here, he has to disappear deep inside himself to discover what it means.
What Baldwin does within this somewhat esoteric vantage point is to slam it hard against the wall of Blues and create a collection of songs thought out in the head, composed from the heart, and laid down from the soul.
Polo Jones - ProducerLane Baldwin - Bass/VocalsTerry Hiatt - GuitarDavid Adams - GuitarBryant Mills - DrumsAbe Laboriel, Jr. - DrumsNate Ginsberg - KeyboardsDanny B. - KeyboardsMambo Tropical, led by Rik Feliciano - HornsAcoustic parts on Sing Along Song - The Abbott Brothers...and more guest musicians
Lay Me Down is the thunderous opening track. You really stop what you’re doing and turn your head when it starts up. Feel it in your chest. It’s kind of a dead man walking story, with nobody there but the preacher to see him across. A real mix of the bravado of life with the fear and loneliness of death. As an opening track, Lay Me Down lets the listener know it’s gonna be a powerful album.
When Halfway Back comes up, you are taken by storm into a sassy Big Band outing. The song’s only 95 seconds long, but packs a real punch. The man is halfway back to being whole-hearted. Nuff said.
I Miss You - Get your Bo Diddley on, y’all. A monstrous, bass and guitar laden testament to love and heartache. You folks know how I feel - organs abound, and it always works.
Freedom Train. In Lane’s own words, “This one is to honor the slave communities who gave birth to the blues, and to the parents who put their children on the Freedom Train, never to see them again. “Oh, Lord, I pray my sons will all be free - Sent ’em down that railroad, so they won’t live as slaves like me.” It’s a hard Blues tune with interesting vocal effects.
Lullaby is a gorgeous escape. It sways like a hammock under tropical skies. A real relaxation moment. First time I heard it, I shed a few tears for this soulful plea. Lane says he hopes the whole world learns to sing this one. I agree. We all need to feel this good about life at least once.
Happy Boy is a seriously powerful bass number that sh-sh-shakes the rafters! By the time this song was playing, I was actually laughing out loud and applauding into the air because of how damn good this whole album was shaping up to be! Blues grinding in my ears as Lane strolls down the street, sharing with us what’s causing the kick in his step. That bass!
Sing Along Song is another of those very unique ditties, in the same vein as Lullaby. Different, truly engaging, and there for the taking as a “learn-to-play-it-on-the-bass” song. Bluegrass. Meet The Abbott Brothers.
Rather than shove itself forward as a challenge to the things that may come your way, Blow Twister Blow seeps forth as more of a tease. There’s nothing trouble can throw at me that I can’t handle. The Lord’s got my back, and I am not worried.
Here’s a solo version, but on the album, you get the full band complement. Fabulous!
Big Dog is Blues and Big Band. Great walking bass line. Incredible horns. Snappy drums. I can’t tell if I picture a small band on stage in a small club - the band members wearing sunglasses and rumpled suits - or a slicked back Lane in a white suit, grooving at the mic in front of a Big Band revue. However it plays out in your mind, Lane is the Big Dog.
Boogie Man is up next. Can the music get any better? As the album progresses, I am still in up to my neck with enjoyment. Not a dull number in the batch. This one’s sort of Jitterbug Blues, and if I was 25 years younger I’d be all over it. I think I’m too old to Jitterbug, but I can still close my eyes and let Lane take me there!
Runnin’ For Daylight is a darker themed Rock number, with a compelling bass drive that implies threat and fear. This, the second to last number, reminds us that it’s not all about the safety of the Lullaby. The view also includes a door to the more treacherous aspects of life.
The Willie Dixon tune, Spoonful, brings up the rear and features Lane’s hockey stick bass. Perfect ending to an unbelievably powerful album.
And how about a listen to the Willie Dixon version while we’re here? Tribute to one of the greats!
The View From Here is meaning, music, and Baldwin’s big bad bass all rolled into one. As I most often do with music, I gave my first listen through headphones, and was mightily impressed with the bottom end that shook my brain from the inside out! The songs are well arranged, well sung, and well played - from the buzz I’m hearing all over the internet, this album is leaving a trail of dropped jaws all along in its wake. I believe it. I still can’t get my own off the floor!