Steve Baskin Steps Up

An internal communications strategist by day, Atlanta singer-songwriter Steve Baskin has done plenty of time in the Georgia and Southeastern music scenes as a member of the Hippycrickets, the Cindy Wilson Band and 10-piece R&B ensemble Hugo a Gogo, among other outfits. Recorded in Valdosta, where Baskin grew up, his new, fourth album Mind Your Step (available on vinyl and CD) presents a spread of easygoing musical fare ranging from Marshall Crenshaw-esque power pop to twangy toe-tappers to soulful Americana-flavored rock in the vein of the Wallflowers, periodically augmented by a brass section.

Baskin’s sense of humor lightens entries such as “Big Wedding, Small Divorce” (aren’t they all?) and “Dinner With Lou,” a reflection on awkward small talk with celebrities, all circling ’round a memory of sitting next to Lou Reed at some dinner at the New York Hard Rock Café. Having endured a handful of encounters with Reed over the years myself, I can attest that the song is far more pleasant than the man himself, may God rest his grouchy soul.

Elsewhere, Baskin shows us his sweet side on album closer “Time for Bed,” and goes poignant with hushed highlight “Pick Up the Pieces,” wherein we eavesdrop on the scattered thoughts of a father and husband after some sort of serious blow-up with his wife, perhaps over an affair. As if those subjects weren’t enough to indicate his general age range, Baskin throws in a faithful cover of Bob Welch’s signature song “Sentimental Lady,” recorded first with Fleetwood Mac in 1972 and later as a hit from his first solo album French Kiss in 1977. It fits well on Mind Your Step, which on the whole is at least good enough to make you not care that you have no idea what an internal communications strategist does.

Photo by Kevin Garrett.