ERIN COLE-BAKER: Big Sky
By Amanda Mills
US-born, Whangarei-raised, and currently based in Oregon, Erin Cole-Baker’s music is rooted in folk-pop that has a country tinge and a pleasant feeling to it. ‘Big Sky’ is her latest album, recorded both here and in the US. The melodies are lilting, the acoustic backing is warm, and the musicianship is great, especially the finger-picking which features on many of the tracks. A highlight is One Year Older, a rustic waltz that is packed with all these elements and a reflective vocal by Cole-Baker, while the addition of Nathan Torvik’s cello on Take a Look Around elevates it from being a sweet song with a nice melody to a stately piece of classical folk-pop. While there’s some great musicianship here and a lovely subtle approach, there’s no X-factor to make this music something more. There’s no one song that captures the album’s intent, and while very pretty, ‘Big Sky’ fails to command attention.