'Doc' Baker shares stories, wins awards with his bluegrass compositions
Baker found his outlet in bluegrass music, saying he had a hard time finding true self-fulfillment in his 18-year career with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service serving the poultry industry in northwest Arkansas.
In fall 2007, he won a songwriting contest in the Songs for a Better World category at the Walnut Valley Festival in Kansas, the world's largest bluegrass festival.
A native of Indianola, Miss., Baker grew up with a love of livestock and for years worked in rodeo, breaking and training horses. He graduated from the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990 and began working for the USDA upon graduation, first with red meat inspection in Nebraska and moving into the poultry industry in northwest Arkansas.
He always loved music, and finally picked up the guitar about seven years ago after attending a "jam session" with some veterinarian friends.
"I started to listen to some of those people, and they were really singing these beautiful songs. They had written them, and I thought, 'I've got some stories to tell,'" says Baker. "I got up the next day, sat down and wrote a song."
His award-winning bluegrass number, "Ol-Son," is a true story from his childhood about an elderly, blind black man from his hometown whose life taught Baker lessons about the dangers of prejudice. Baker also was nominated for an international song-writing competition, in which he was a runner-up.
His first CD, "Simple Things," can be found online at CDBaby.com and features nine tracks, including one veterinarians might find helpful, "Kennels in Heaven," which strives to help children understand what happens to pets when they die.
Though he performs locally around Arkansas, Baker joked that he doesn't have any veterinary conference performances lined up -- yet.
Click on the links below to sample some of "Doc" Baker's work.