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Music Row featuring Adam Baxter

Adam Baxter has been making his name in the provincial music scene since 2005. – Courtesy of Adam Baxter

By COLIN FARRELL Special to The Appalachian

Adam Baxter was one of the ten MusicNL artists picked to showcase at the Live at Heart NL Music virtual conference held at Smuggler’s Cove Roadside Bar and Grill in Burin from Aug. 2-6. Footage from the conference, which was recorded live, will be featured during the international Live at Heart event being held in Sweden this fall.

“It was an absolute honour to be selected to represent this island at a virtual global music freaking incredible. What a distinction to represent this island that is so picturesque and heavensque both scenic and musically and to represent it to the world is incredible,” said Baxter.

“Props to the festival (organizers) for changing it up at such a quick pace because not knowing what to do with COVID and I’m just so excited to see what it evolves into in the next couple of years cause I think it is going to be next level.”

Baxter has been a fixture in the provincial music scene since moving to St. John’s in 2005 where he started playing shows at venues in the capital city. Although he had been performing solo and with bands while living in his home province of Nova Scotia, Baxter feels his career started after moving to Newfoundland.

“I don’t really feel that my music career took off per se until about 2005 when I was living in St. John’s and I really kind of dove head first into the music community,” he explained. “I started playing anywhere from two to six nights a week downtown St. John’s. It was all original material. I wasn’t doing cover gigs or pub gigs or anything like that. I was opening for bands – just beating around – playing a lot in St. John’s and I got my name around town a whole lot.”

Baxter, a graduate of the Music Theory/Composition program at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, explained that his career started gaining steam after he moved to Springdale to take a position; his first teaching position as the band director at Indian River High.

“I started kind of breaking out and travelling around the island and really getting a true experience of the music community on the island by trying to build relationships with other musicians and audience members around the province,” said Baxter. “Ever since then (is) just been steady going up, up and up and (getting) better and better and better.”

Baxter, who now makes his home in Campbellton, said his almost 10 years as a music teacher has helped him progress in his own music career.

“Every day I am doing music – everyday 9-5,” he said. “I’m exposed to rhythms, pitch and all those things, it keeps my ears super fine-tuned.”

He added that because of his position as a music teacher he is continuously learning new musical concepts that may otherwise be outside of his personal musical style.

“It forces me out of my comfort to learn (new) things and then that eventually trickles into what I write.”

Although Baxter has come a long way since moving to the province, there are still some goals that he has set for himself that he remains focused on.

“The biggest goal I have – and it’s kind of a weird one – but I aspire to play in every municipality or every town on the island of Newfoundland,” said Baxter. “I’m doing pretty good, I’ve played some remote spots, obviously. Just to become a household name in Newfoundland is a big aspiration of mine. I’m not too tore up on going too far off the island. If it happens cool. I’ll still tour a bit outside of Newfoundland but my main market is the island of Newfoundland because, dude, it’s so great and I think it is possible to stay here and have a sustainable artist career.”

To date Baxter said the most remote community he has played is McCallum, an isolated community on the province’s southern coast which is only accessible by boat or air. He hopes to soon take his music to other remote communities.

“My wife and I go to Burgeo every summer and this year – I always bring my guitar and we spend a day on the beach – I had my phone with me and noticed they had really good cell service so I did a one song Facebook live, and for some reason the local of Burgeo shared it out.”

The Facebook live post led to Baxter being contacted by someone from Burgeo to ask if he would like to play a show in the community.

“I (explained) I have an even cooler idea, and my idea is this: I have really always wanted a trip/ mini-tour doing Burgeo, Ramea, Grey River and Francois, so that is kind of what I am endeavouring to work towards at this point, having Burgeo kind of sorted out I would have to work out the other three,” said Baxter, “and I think that’s pretty neat cause I don’t think a lot of people make there way out to those places to perform and the reason I say that is because based on McCallum when I played there in 2018 they literally told me they hadn’t had live music in the town in 10 years.”

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