Etta Baker

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Etta Baker

Etta Baker with an acoustic guitar July 1995
Background information
Birth name Etta Lucille Reid
Born March 31, 1913(1913-03-31)
Caldwell County, North Carolina, US
Died September 23, 2006(2006-09-23) (aged 93)
Fairfax, Virginia, United States
Genres Piedmont blues
Instruments guitar, banjo, vocals
Years active 1950s - 2000s
Labels Rounder, Tradition, Reprise, Music Maker
Website Etta Bakers page

Etta Baker (March 31, 1913 – September 23, 2006) was an American blues guitarist and singer from North Carolina, United States. She played in the Piedmont blues style.

Baker was born as Etta Lucille Reid in Caldwell County, North Carolina of African American, Native American, and European American origin. Since the age of three she played 6- and 12-string guitar and Banjo. She was thought by her father, who was also a Piedmont blues musician. She did her first recording in 1956, when folk singer Paul Clayton was asked by her father to listen to his daughter. She played "One Dime Blues" and Clayton was very impressed. Next day he did some recordings with his taperecorder in Etta Bakers home.

Over the years she played with different musicians like Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Etta Baker had nine children, one of them died in the Vietnam War. She died at the age of 93 in Fairfax, Virginia, while visiting a daughter who had suffered a stroke.

Honours[change | change source]

  • North Carolina Folk Heritage Award from the North Carolina Arts Council (1989)
  • National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowship (1991)
  • North Carolina Award (2003)
  • North Carolina Folklore Society's Brown-Hudson Folklore Award (1982 - together with her sister Cora Philips)

Discography[change | change source]

  • 1956 : Instrumental Music From the Southern Appalachians (1956, Tradition Records; reissued 1997)
  • 1990 : One Dime Blues
  • 1998 : The North Carolina Banjo Collection (various artists) (1998, Rounder)
  • 1999 : Railroad Bill
  • 2004 : Etta Baker with Taj Mahal (Music Maker 50)
  • 2005 : Carolina Breakdown with Cora Phillips (Music Maker 56)
  • 2006 : Knoxville Rag with Kenny Wayne Shepherd (CD Title: "10 Days Out- Blues From The Backroads", it also includes a DVD that shows Kenny & Etta playing guitar in her kitchen), Reprise Records, 2006