Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Whale” by Nat Baldwin from the 2011 album People Changes, released on Western Vinyl.
If you’re not familiar with Nat Baldwin, allow me to clue you in because he isn’t the typical singer/songwriter, and his recent release People Changes isn’t the typical record. Baldwin is most famously known as a bassist — or, more specifically, an upright or double bassist — but his prowess with the instrument goes beyond simply playing a part in a band or contributing to an album, which he has done (he was a member of the Dirty Projectors, and lent his talents to Vampire Weekend’s Contra.
People Changes, released on May 24 by Western Vinyl, is in fact Baldwin’s fifth solo album, all of which consist mostly of Baldwin singing over his pronounced bass. He initially studied at the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut before falling under the tutelage of free jazz icon Anthony Braxton. It is these early influences that seem to form his albums more than anything taken from popular music and People Changes is no exception. On today’s featured song and album opener “A Little Lost,” not only does Baldwin’s bass wander freely, but his voice does as well, the two most prominent aspects of Baldwin’s music playing off each other beautifully.
Nat Baldwin is currently touring in support of People Changes, but as of now he is not scheduled to make his way west of the Mississippi. Check back with his Western Vinyl artist page for details and updates. For now, check out his video for “One Two Three,” from his 2007 release Most Valuable Player: