Steve Baskin Gets NAKED

By Dean Poling

VDT View —  
June 19, 2009

“It’s all good” for Steve Baskin.

The Valdosta native’s new album, “Naked,” is out. Released in mid-May, the CD’s set of 10 songs sizzles. The album is receiving good early reviews and audience response.

“Naked” features Baskin’s band, which has been busy playing live gigs in the Atlanta area, attracting the attention of a music publishing company.

In his spare time, Baskin has been founding a global sponsorship business ... seriously.

“I love making things up out of thin air,” Baskin says in a recent phone interview. He loves making songs, music, CDs, a business, all powered by the same harmonious energy that gives “Naked” its bounce.

“Naked” is a reflection of a busy year.

Two-and-a-half years ago, when we last checked in with Baskin, he was balancing his music with a thriving career as a marketing executive with Ing, one of the world’s largest financial corporations.

In February 2008, he left Ing, just before the stock market collapse. The global sponsorship company came about “over a bunch of beers.” He began working on the concept the next day. Baskin has since been flying around the country developing the company.

His band formed as Baskin worked on songs as a follow-up to his debut album, “I Sometimes Think.” On “I Sometimes Think,” Baskin wrote, sang and played everything. He has come to appreciate a band.

The Valdosta Daily Times’ 2007 article described “I Sometimes Think” as “a poppy blend of groove and soul with a nice slice of edge.”

“Naked” is both more raw in its emotional impact while more refined in its musicianship and production. This second CD maintains a pop quality fueled with a charging rock attitude.

Baskin wrote the majority of the songs on “Naked.” A notable exception is the fun Partridge Family cover of “I Think I Love You.” Baskin co-wrote other songs on the album.

One co-writing credit is with Rich Herring, a fellow former Valdostan. Herring and Baskin once performed together in a previous incarnation of The Blues Factor. Herring also performed regularly in South Georgia, often at the former Remerton pub, The Mill House.

Baskin had an idea for a song and visited Herring in Nashville, where he works as a session player, songwriter and reportedly as lead guitar with the Little River Band since leaving Valdosta more than a decade ago. They worked on the song together and it became “My Empty House” on the album.

Baskin also performs with another Valdosta native, Richard “Zoot” Blasingame, a renaissance man of a musician playing keyboards, organ, “Grandma’s accordion,” bari sax, as well as back-up vocals.

These Valdosta roots are important given Baskin’s Valdosta-Lowndes County roots.

Baskin is the son of Jean Baskin and the grandson of Vanelle Baskin, both of Valdosta. He’s a 1982 graduate of Lowndes High School and attended Valdosta State, before moving in 1987 to Atlanta. He played several years with the now-defunct Reunion Blue Band, a group that also featured Al Turner, a local attorney who has been Valdosta band Skannyardle’s drummer for many years.

Baskin hopes to play a Valdosta gig sometime in the near future. It likely wouldn’t be with the full band but an acoustic set with himself and maybe a bandmate or two. Other band members include Brian Hudson, drums; bass player Joe Randolph, Collective Soul’s original bass and guitar player; Alex Slinin, electric and lead guitar; with Baskin on lead vocals, back-up acoustic and electric guitars.

Baskin describes “Naked” as a CD about “love, love gone bad, running, the stress of the office, the Zen of the river, runaways, prostitution, and death.”

And it’s just some unvarnished great music.