Baxter Hall is a singer/songwriter and guitarist from Boston MA. Performing on stage and working with some of the best in the business, Hall is an exciting new up and coming artist who has been recognized on stages throughout New England and as far as Europe.
He is currently involved with a newly formed backing band and has an official debut album on the way, “Somewhere in My Guitar” comprised of lyric based original rock and roll songs. This album is being produced by Grammy nominated guitarist and founder of “Roomful of Blues” Duke Robillard.
The MetroWest Daily News - 5.16.19 - Ed Symkus ...
A native of Jamaica Plain, who moved with his family to Millis when he was 5, Baxter Hall has been surrounded and fascinated by music since ... well, the first music he clearly remembers hearing was when, at age 4, his folks dropped some coins in a jukebox at the Miss Florence Diner in Florence, Massachusetts.
“My mom liked Crosby, Stills & Nash,” said Hall, “and she played ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.’ I remember liking and singing along to that song.”
But there’s a lot more than just jukebox music in the Hall family. Baxter’s dad Bruce plays trumpet with the Boston Pops. His mom Marnie is an in-demand freelance rock and pop violinist who was a founding member of the Shelley Winters Project.
Hall’s earliest brush with playing an instrument was via acoustic guitar lessons when he was 5.
“It had nylon strings,” he said, “and it wasn’t what I wanted to do; I wanted to play like George Harrison.”
He might have lost interest in that guitar, but flash forward a few years when Hall, then 13, was rooting around in his grandparents’ attic, and he came across an electric guitar – a Fender Stratocaster – that his trumpeter grandfather had once bought on a lark, then stored away up there.
“When I found that Strat, I took it home and played it every day after school,” said Hall. “I listened to the Beatles all the time, and tried to work out the songs. Then when I heard ‘Roundabout’ by Yes, the only thing I wanted to learn was the beginning of ‘Roundabout’ (laughs). And I did!”
He was self-taught at first, soon began lessons at Barnstorm Music in Medway, then moved on to lessons with Framingham guitarist George McCann.
But right in the middle of learning his craft, the blues came calling,
“By the time I was in eighth grade, I had already heard about blues music and had made a conscious decision that I wanted to know more about it. I was with my friends in a record shop in Northampton, and I found this record by [blues guitarist] Freddie King. I heard ‘The Stumble,’ ‘San-Ho-Zay,’ ‘Hideaway’ – those great instrumental songs. I remember getting fascinated by them and then trying to learn them note by note. So early Freddie King opened up a new world for me.”
Hall’s enthrallment with King led to him discovering the Chicago blues of Magic Sam and the blues-rock of Mike Bloomfield. Yet his own blues playing started to go in different directions.
“The first group where I played out and got paid for it was Monty’s Lobster, with me on guitar and vocals, and my friends Lukas Bratsos (drums and vocals) and Mike Jones (bass). Around that time, we were really into progressive rock, like Rush and Yes and early Genesis, and we wanted to do a band that combined those sorts of progressive elements. It was cool being in high school and playing in Boston clubs on the weekends. It was a prog rock band but it also had a lot of blues elements.”
Hall also found himself sitting in with and coming under the mentorship of blues great Duke Robillard, and was playing guitar in the Haggins Hall Band, with his singer-songwriter pal Dwayne Haggins, who was into country blues and soul. Hall and Haggins still play together, but Monty’s Lobster underwent a couple of changes ... in name and in repertoire, but not in the lineup.
Hall, Bratsos, and Jones are now the Baxter Hall Trio.
“We took some of the elements of Monty’s Lobster, and between January and now we’ve been rehearsing and getting new material and a new sound,” said Hall. “It’s more blues, but it’s pretty free. There are no real guidelines, it’s a collaborative effort between all of our sounds.”
On the recording front, there was a 2016 self-titled Monty’s Lobster album, and a 2018 release “Baxter Hall Plays the Blues,” which was actually Hall’s senior project in high school (he got an A+).
“I’m taking it in a new direction,” said Hall. “I’ve always thought of myself as something of a songwriter, so I’ve been doing a lot of writing for this next one, and putting a lot of importance on the lyrics. The album will have a lot of Beatles influence and a lot of folk influence.
Hall summed up his love of guitar and music by saying, “When I play certain chords, it’s soothing for me to put my hands and fingers in those positions. It’s relaxing. I guess playing guitar comes naturally to me. I’ll always be playing guitar and always listening to music.”