Along with a couple of friends, they formed Al A and played rousing covers of Char-lie Daniels, Allman Brothers, and Marshall Tucker tunes throughout the beachside area. It was Baker’s first foray into the live performance scene, but he’d caught the music bug nearly ten years before. “It was the tail-end of high school and I was watching some buddies pull out their acoustic guitars at this party,” he re-members. “They sat there and started playing and instantly they were sur-rounded by all these girls. I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.”
Today, Baker surrounds himself with a much larger and more diverse crowd when he plays his solo acoustic sets each Thursday at Doubles in Indian Harbour Beach, but the tunes he plays are much the same as when he first picked up the guitar. “I went into a period of liking all the ‘guitar god’ stuff — Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Mountain — every kid does, really,” says Baker, “but my early favorites still come through in the sets I play now — Jimmy Buffett, some Jethro Tull, CSNY, and Elton John. Mostly upbeat, folky stuff” They’re favorites everyone can relate to, but what sets Baker apart from similar musicians is his setlist’s dis-cerning taste. “I transposed some of Elton John’s piano-driven songs to the guitar, but they’re songs peo-ple don’t normally expect to hear. People will come up to me and tell
and-such a song in years.” Not only do they translate beautifully when strummed through Baker’s 6- and 12-string guitars; their relative obscu-rity warms nostalgic hearts as well.
Fans also love Baker’s unobtrusive playing and his blending of newer covers (like Men At Work veteran Co-lin James Hay) and stirringly melodic originals, some of which were written for his children. “I’ve written one for each of my three kids,” he says. “I just finished one for my youngest daugh-ter, Brenna, and I play it live.” Somehow, Baker manages to juggle fatherhood, songwriting, and re-cording (a new CD is in the works) with the construction of Brevard’s first Green Envirohome — his own — a hurricane-safe, energy-effi-cient, eco-friendly dwelling, hope-fully the first of many in the area.
Still, Baker finds time to perform around town. Though locals may remember him from Lou’s Blues and a stellar show at Slow N’ Low Barbecue’s recent Labor Day Party, his Thursday night sets at Doubles are the best times to catch him.
Drop by (1896 S. Patrick Dr., Indian Harbour Beach) any Thursday from 5:30 p.m to 10:00 p.m. Call Doubles at (321) 773-5341 for details, or call Mark Baker directly at (321) 615-7613 for booking information. For news on his Envirohome, visit: www.fsge.net and check back with the Resident for a future story on this exciting venture.