Rob Baird plus Sundy Best
January 5, 2013
Rob Baird will be the first one to tell you that he hasn’t always been 100%, shall we say, forthright as a songwriter. Back in college (not too terribly long ago), he recorded an album that he has since “completely buried” — primarily, he says, because back then, “I just wasn’t writing about anything that really meant anything to me.” His next album, 2010’s Blue Eyed Angels (which he considers his proper debut), was a fair deal closer to his heart, but even then he was still an artist in search of himself. Songs like “Could Have Been My Baby,” “Blue Eyed Angels” and especially “Fade Away” all demonstrated that he was ultra-confident in the hooks department and talented enough to sound like he knew what he was doing, but Baird himself was still not entirely convinced.
By striking contrast, one listen to his new album, the aptly titled I Swear It’s the Truth, and it’s clear that Baird has not only found his sincere artistic identity, but grabbed his sense of purpose by the wheel and pushed pedal to the metal. “I’m moving like the wind through the trees, like a train on a track, there ain’t no stopping me,” he declares on the opening “Dreams and Gasoline. “Let the wheels spin free.”
Three years of touring successfully can have an effect on one’s confidence, as does the benefit of just having a little more time to mature. Baird, now 25, wrote and recorded Blue Eyed Angels when he was only 21, at the end of his senior year at Fort Worth’s Texas Christian University. Baird stayed in Texas after graduation (relocating to Austin) and began carving out his own niche. But even as Blue Eyed Angels found traction on regional radio on the strength of his steady touring and solid singles like “Could Have Been My Baby” and “Fade Away,” Baird formulated his own style, cut with guitars both jangly and crunchy and crisscrossed by rivers of pedal steel and tasteful organ, that quickly set him apart from rest of the Texas crowd.