Black Music Matters Festival

Rob Baird

I Swear It's the Truth – 2012 (Carnival)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Rob Baird

Texas singer/songwriter Rob Baird's second release is a collection of mostly somber tunes about lost love, with occasional observations of life on the road. For the most part, Baird seems to accept responsibility for his failures as in Dreams and Gasoline ("Bless my soul, forgive my sins/ Bury my bones somewhere where the highway ends") and Don't Cry For Me ("Lose a minute every morning/Lose a minute every night/ But I'm not scared of losing/ I've been losing all my life").

Elsewhere Baird casts the blame on trifling women in Black and Blue ("You said you loved me but just for kicks/ Another name on a long, long list/ You left me broken, beaten, blind, black and blue") and Along the Way ("It was there for the taking/ But you just kept on breaking/ My troubled heart along the way").

Among the strongest tracks are a pair of tunes that reflect on life on the road. In Same Damn Thing Baird references "filthy bars and old guitars" and observes that "we all keep swinging and just strike out/ Trying to find Heaven but taking what the devil brings," while in Redemption Baird contemplates "guess I'm living like a runaway child/ Moving like the songs on the radio dial/ Going here wishing I was there/ Trying to make a living while no one cares."

Baird wrote or co-wrote all but the final 3 of the 11 tracks, closing with an effective cover of Julie Miller's I Can't Get Over You. With strong compositions and pleasant vocals reminiscent of Ryan Bingham and Jakob Dylan, this is a solid effort.