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Baber moves forward on NBC's The Voice, poised for Top 10 run 

Known for his physical presence and powerful command of the stage, Barrett Baber showed a softer side Monday Nov 16th singing the pop classic "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx.  In typical Baber fashion he made the song his own with country instrumentation and delivery that took the song to a new place that the public loved.  The song was so well received that at the close of voting it rested firmly at #10 on the overall iTunes charts and #1 on the Country iTunes charts.  Barrett was saved by voters and now prepares for another performance on November 23.  All 11 remaining contestants are vying for a top ten spot on the show and the competition is stiff.  Fans can vote via "The Voice" App on Apple and Android smartphones, and by downloading the iTunes release of Baber's song during the voting window after the show on Tuesday.  

The Lee Brice Effect Part 2 


As we typically do now that we’re 30, most of us didn’t have much left in the tank for the Saturday night activities.  We had a great dinner and those of us suffering from the “cocktail flu,” which was all of us, were pushing ourselves near our 30 year old limit.  The phrase “I can’t do it like I used to two nights in a row” was uttered on numerous occasions by many of us.   After dinner, the decision was made.  Let’s just find a small local pub and hang for an hour or two and then call it a night.  Everyone agreed and off we walked in search of a local spot.  We settled at a little bar called “The Magnolia Motor Lounge”.  We were there early and the band was just starting to set up and hadn’t even sound checked. 
I was already interested in what was about to happen musically in this place because in typical nerd musician fashion I had inventoried the gear on stage.  There were several horns on stands, a couple good vintage amps and a nord keyboard.  That’s generally a good sign.  The band got up on stage and launched into their first sound check song.  “Well my woman, she showed up…..with your number on her hand…..well I thought that I might call you up so we could deal with this man to man… better tell me the truth siiiiiiiiiir.” It was one of my most favorite Amos Lee songs and it was really, really good.  The band was really tight musically and the singer was even better.  I hadn’t heard that kind of soulful voice in a long time.  I knew right away it was way more than your average local cover band.  I turned to Jay and said, “Dude, I love you and I want you to have a great night, but I think we’d be making a big mistake if we left this bar before listening to this bands set.”  He agreed and we stayed.  It was incredible.  I’m not often intimidated by singers, but this dude had something special.  Much like any great singer it was unique.   The best part was the original music.  There were well written well-arranged original songs that stuck in my head three songs after they were over. 
After the band was finished, I stood by the bar, which at that point had a large crowd around it.  It was evident that this guy and his band were locally loved and supported.  I plotted in my head how I might introduce myself.  Yeah, that’s how awe struck I was.  Seriously, I was fanning out a bit. 
One thing about being a musician who gigs a lot and does it relatively well is that very often by the time we get off stage, we’re just getting off work, while everyone else at the bar has already ingested several adult beverages.  This creates a scenario in which lots of people say lots of things.  Very often, those things include statements like “Yo, my uncle is the tour manager for Skynard,” or “Hey how much you charge for a gig.”  And my personal favorite, “I’m a musician…we should play a show together.”  It’s hard to tell what’s BS and what’s legit.  I take every conversation I have seriously, but 95% of them never materialize into legitimate gigs or opportunities.  I don’t think people are disingenuous. I just think people in general like to talk to the band and it’s a natural thing to talk about the one thing they know I know…music and gigs.  That’s mostly because they just saw me come off the stage.  I get it.  In fact, I like it.  I say this to set up the moment.  Since I had a little info on life as a local musician, and I was already a little intimidated by the talent of the guy I just saw destroy on stage, I was VERY self conscious about coming off as one of those typical conversations that I was certain this guy had all the time after his sets.  But this guy was too good.  I couldn’t leave without at least introducing myself and giving him a legitimate compliment from one musician to another. 
Eventually, he and I ended up standing at the bar next to each other.  So I did the thing that happens to me so often and said, “Hey man, I’m a musician from Arkansas and I just wanted to say that I think you guys are freaking awesome.”  “Wow thanks a lot, man,” he said energetically.  “What’s your name?”  he asked . “I’m Barrett Baber,” I said.  “Nice to meet you dude, I’m Luke Wade,” he replied.  “Do you gig regionally?”  I inquired.  “Yeah, we stay pretty busy in Texas but have always wanted to get into Arkansas, especially Fayetteville.  Just haven’t been able to establish a regular gig there yet.  You got any recommendations on places we should play?” I just smiled and said “I sure do.”
Two years or so later, Luke Wade and I sat on my back porch after a gig together in Fayetteville talking about the last 6 months of his life.  He had just completed a very successful run on the hit reality TV show on NBC’s “The Voice.” Since Luke and I met that night in Fort Worth, we had become fast friends and had played several shows together both in Arkansas and Texas.  I had watched him on The Voice religiously and was so happy to see America respond in kind to the soulful vocal ability that had grabbed my attention that night in that tiny bar in Texas.
“You should audition for The Voice dude,” he said.  “I know you don’t think you’re good enough and have an idea of what these kind of shows are about, but it’s really an awesome experience and believe me, you’ve got the right kind of voice and story that could really be something special on the show.”  I shrugged it off.  Truthfully, I had thought about it while watching him perform on TV.  I was on the fence.  Was I really good enough?  What if they said no?  Worse than that, what if I auditioned and failed miserably?  I had been making music for so long and was starting to see some success but still hadn’t felt any real, long lasting, national attention.  He pressed me, “Trust me, Barrett. I wouldn’t tell you to do it if I didn’t think you could do well and if it wasn’t a something that could benefit your career.  Tell you what. Let me send one YouTube link to the casting director and if she digs it, cool.  If not, you’ll never know.”
Fast forward 10 months and here I sit. I’m writing a blog post in Los Angeles, California. It has been 6 days since I performed on The Voice stage in the first round of the live shows.  America voted on its favorite performers and I was one of the top two on country superstar Blake Shelton’s team.  How did I get those votes?  Performing an emotional rendition of Lee Brice’s number one hit “I Drive Your Truck.”
Sometimes clichés are clichés because they ring true.   The particular cliché “Things happen for a reason” is particularly cringe worthy most of the time. In fact, I think it’s the one that gets used and grossly misused the most.  It’s the easy thing to say in unexplainable situations.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. For whatever reason, people feel the need to put meaning and explanation to things that can’t be explained.  The next time you find yourself around someone who is experiencing unanticipated tough times, just wait a while and someone who probably means well but doesn’t know any better will pipe up and say, “well, everything happens for a reason I guess.”  The thing is, is that it’s true!  Not for every situation, but for some.  There’s no good explanation for tragedy.  There isn’t a good reason for bad things to happen.  It’s a stupid thing to say in moments like that.  In moments like I am experiencing now, though, it fits pretty perfectly!
There’s a spiritual element to this life we live.  Some people call it God, or Budda or The Secret or energy.  It has lots of names and religious explanations that I don’t claim to know or care to understand.  I don’t have to understand it or know where it comes from to feel it and know it’s real.  For me, this story is a cool example of the interwoven journeys that we all share as human beings.  For whatever reason, I ended up in Fort Worth, Texas one weekend and heard some great music from a guy named Lee Brice, which was the perfect music to cause the bros and me to decide to “take it easy” the next night.  We end up in a small bar where I meet Luke Wade who a year later auditions and excels on The Voice.  Six months later, I’m having a conversation with Luke that leads me to my journey on The Voice that includes me performing a song by the guy who essentially rocked us so hard that we ended up in the bar where Luke and I met in the first place.  My head explodes just thinking about that sometimes. 
I’m not saying I don’t believe in chance.  I do.  Sometimes we get lucky.  Sometimes we get unlucky.  Sometimes good things happen for random reasons and sometimes bad things happen randomly, too.  In this scenario, though, I believe it was more than that.  It was meant to be.  I was meant to be in Fort Worth that weekend.  I was meant to see Lee Brice that Friday night.  I was meant to meet Luke Wade and become friends with him.  I was meant to have that conversation with Luke that night that convinced me to give this “avenue to musical success” an honest shot.  If those things “happened for a reason” and put me in this place at this time, poised to do something really special, then I have to view whatever happens beyond today on The Voice as one of those things that “happens for a reason.”  That’s where my head is tonight with the show.  It’s a great way to live in moments like this.  It certainly takes a lot of the immense pressure off of my shoulders.
My hope for those that see my story and read this post is that they can recognize the interconnected life we all live.  The past several months on The Voice have been a beautiful lesson for me.  It’s been a lesson about living life with a sense of awareness and gratefulness for the “things happen for a reason” moments.  In my opinion, those are often some of the greatest moments of all. 

The Lee Brice Effect Part 1 

The Lee Brice Effect Part 1
“Man, I’m gonna ask Kelly to marry me,” were the words that came out of my best friend Jay’s mouth almost three years ago and I couldn’t have been more pumped.   Jay and I had been friends since high school.  We’d been friends so long in fact, that even now I can’t specifically remember our first encounter or moment when we first met.  It feels like Jay has always just been there. Jay’s friendship had always been a treasured thing in my life. We’d played high school football together, experienced young adulthood as careless 20 somethings together, trained for and completed triathlons together and had spent countless hours just hanging out trying to make sense of the crazy world. 
I have a group of 6-7 guys that I grew up with in Eastern Arkansas that still remain incredibly close.  We’ve shared all of our most magical moments together.  They’ve held me up during some of my darkest moments after the plane crash in 1999 and have celebrated some of the most amazing moments of my life, like my marriage to Sarah and the birth of both my kids.  There aren’t a lot of people who remain so close with people they were best friends with in high school.  Seasons change and with that change often comes the end of old relationships and the beginning of new ones.  In my case, however, I’ve still got my high school bros.  They’re still around and I love ‘em like crazy.
For no particular reason, Jay was the last one of us to meet and fall in love with what would become his awesome wife Kelly.  So when he told me he was going to pop the question, I was really excited for a couple reasons.  First, I’ve never been more fulfilled by any relationship than the one I have with my wife, so I was happy that my close friend had found someone to experience that with.  Second, I knew that without a doubt because the rest of the squad was already hitched, some with children, that this meant we were going to have a badass bachelor party! 
I’ve made no bones about the fact that I love to eat, drink and be merry.  My friends and I have been involved in some EPIC merry making over the years and I knew this particular celebration would be one for the ages.  I don’t know when the tide turned and it became the common thing to do with bachelor parties, but I’d like to meet the guy who first decided to break the mold and do the “let’s go out of town for a weekend several months before the wedding” bachelor party thing.  That guy will get his tab picked up if we ever meet. At the time I had a young son and a pregnant wife, so really, this one felt like a combination of “Baber’s last stand” and “Jay’s last stand.”   I couldn’t wait. We all decided that we’d take the 6 hour drive down to Fort Worth, Texas for a weekend of boots and brews.  It was all good clean fun.  Just a couple dozen red blooded Arkansas bros telling old stories and a few dirty jokes.  Seriously.    
At the time, I was in an interesting place musically.  I’d always been a country music fan of sorts but had only recently began writing country songs for a local up and coming band in Fayetteville.  It was this effort that had really piqued my interest in the genre.  I started listening to country radio regularly and wasn’t all that impressed with a lot of what I heard.  If anyone understands that there are “different strokes for different folks” musically it’s me.  Just because I don’t fully dig something doesn’t mean it’s not good.  It just means I don’t dig it.  In country music, about 3 years ago is when the “bro” country phenomenon had reached it peak.  Some of it was catchy and neat.  But most of what I heard didn’t really move me lyrically or melodically.  Most of it didn’t feel like it had any depth.  So in truth, I was more interested in the cold beer at world famous Billy Bob’s Texas music venue in Fort Worth than I was in who was playing there the first night of my friend’s bachelor party. 
We paid for tickets at the door, walked in, made our way through the cowboy hats and tight jeans and procured a spot near the back of the bar.  Not long after we arrived, the lights went down and the band came up.  I dug what I heard.  It was definitely country music and had a pretty swingy honky tonk feel at times. But there was some underlying soul that I could hear and most importantly feel.  The coolest part about the show was the singer.  He had a gritty soulful tone but flexed some real control and power that impressed me.  Best of all, he was a big dude.  He looked like one of those dudes that if you bumped into him he wouldn’t feel it.  Big, and thick and hulking but still soft around the middle.  I don’t know why I noticed that, but I think it made him seem more authentic.  He wasn’t a model.  He was just a dude singing his ass off and putting on a great show.  We finished out the night and stumbled into our hotel rooms with our ears ringing.  The first thing I did the next morning was buy the Lee Brice record on iTunes.  He got even more respect when I realized he was a writer on almost all of the songs that I really loved from the previous night.  I thought, “Now this is some music I can dig.”
Bonus right?  I’d gone down to Fort Worth for a weekend of celebration and merry making and discovered a country artist and songwriter that I really liked.  


Baber Performs in Voice Live Playoffs Advances to Top 12 

Barrett Baber delivered another stunning and emotional performance Monday night and was rewarded by the public when he advanced to the Top 12 in the Television singing competition "The Voice".  Blake Shelton again drew comparisons between Baber and Garth Brooks during the coaches comments portion of the night saying "the only other performer I've ever seen pour as much into each performance is Garth Brooks".  America rewarded Baber by voting him through to the final 12 artists on Season 9 of the award winning show.  "I'm proud and humbled to continue this journey and will continue to do everything I can to connect with the audience through every performance." said Baber.  Moving forward the public will continue to vote for their favorite performances each week until the finale episode scheduled for December 15th.  Fans can vote each Monday night after the show airs until each Tuesday at 11am CST via , The Voice Facebook Fanpage, The Voice App for Smartphones and by downloading the iTunes recording of Baber's song each week.  

Behind the Scenes of The Voice Knockouts / Written By Barrett Baber Part 2 

Rudolph and The Wrecked Rib Part 2.  “Knocking Out a Blind Guy”
I’m not a reality TV show producer.  Let’s get that established right away.  I have no idea how to create good TV or even what good TV is.  I leave that up to the professionals.  I’ve chosen my career path and creating a reality television show isn’t in the path thus far.  Being on one is a different story. 
After working on The Voice for a few weeks, I’ve got one thing figured out.  Reactions are good.  Viewers love a good reaction from something the participants don’t expect.  For example, the reaction of the artists when they walk into a rehearsal and Brad Paisley is sitting there.  It’s cool to see, right? 
I figure that this “reactions are good,” idea led the producers on this season of The Voice to decide that we contestants wouldn’t know who we were singing against in Knockout Rounds until the very moment we walked out of the tunnel and saw the other person coming out of the opposite tunnel.  Headed into knockouts there were 8 people left on Team Blake.  The coach matches up contestants in a “sing-off,” much like Battle Rounds except this time, each artist chooses their own song and sings by themself and not in a duet.  The coach chooses the winner and the loser either goes home or is stolen.  It’s a tough spot because at this point, you’ve developed relationships with the people on your team and more than likely you’ll be singing against someone you really like and want to succeed.  Naturally, this is what happened to me when I walked out of the tunnel and saw my friend Blind Joe being led to the stage by his wonderful wife LeAnne. 
Blind Joe is a good dude.  He’s been blind from birth.  Born premature in the 80’s, he was placed in an incubator box.  The problem is, the doctors forgot to put something over his eyes, so the lights they use to help the babies keep warm did something to his retinas and they never attached.  What kind of crap luck is that, right?  Some doctor has a bad Wednesday and forgets to do one thing and you’re blind for the rest of your life.  Doctors are humans; mistakes happen. I get that. This isn’t an indictment of the doctor, more a statement of the things that happen for no reason in life.  Lots of misguided spiritualists would say something like “everything happens for a reason” or “The man upstairs will never give you more than you can handle” or something incredibly insensitive and useless like that.  Not my God.  Not the one I believe in anyway.  When stuff like that happens to someone, here’s what people of faith need to say.  “wow…..that sucks…..I’m sorry…..I don’t know why that happened but I’m sure sorry it did.”  That’s it.  Anything more, especially anything that tries to explain the sucky thing that happened, is way more than needs to be said.   I’ll never understand why people of faith sometimes have such a difficult time saying “I don’t know.” Not everything needs explaining.  But Back to Joe. 
Now lots of people, including myself would probably grow up a little bitter about not being able to see.  One thing I’ve learned from being around Joe a lot the last few weeks is that life is definitely harder for blind people.  Getting in and out of vans, walking, interacting with people, eating, everything.  The other thing I learned from Joe is that no one has an excuse to be an asshole, unmotivated, negative, and uncreative because he is the exact opposite of all those things.  I really value the guy as a human being.  He’s funny as hell, cusses like a sailor (so the profanity in this post is more of a tribute to him than anything) and has really never allowed himself to be bitter about getting dealt a really sucky hand in life with his blindness.  Joe LOVES to crack blind jokes.  I’d walk up and say, “What’s up Joe?” and he’d say “Fancy seeing you here!” and then bust out laughing.  After I got my Battle partner assignment, I said “Well I saw that one coming from a mile away,” Joe, without missing a beat chirped, “Well, I sure didn’t Barrett.”  That’s the kind of dude he is.  The best part about him is that not only is he not bitter, but he’s taking that crappy hand he got dealt and he’s sitting at the table... and he’s winning.  He’s married to a great woman, plays gigs all the time, and really is just all around a cool dude. 
Not long after we got here I sat down with him and jammed a few songs.  I did some old country and Baberfied it up like I do.  When I got done with the first song, he goes “DAYUM!  You are a soulful sum bitch!  Where in the hell did you figure out how to sing like that?”  Since that day, every time I’d see him he’d say, “What’s up Big Country?” and we’d shoot the breeze for a while, mostly about music.  Joe could be in the transportation van and a song would come on the radio and he could call out the artist, title and year the song was recorded before the singer got to the chorus.  I loved playing that game with ole Joe.
Joe told me a bunch of times headed into the knockouts that as long as he didn’t have to sing against me he was sure he’d be alright.  I’d always tell him, “awwww Joe, you don’t give yourself enough credit,” and then try to steer the conversation away from that topic altogether.  Truthfully, I couldn’t bear the idea of having to sing against Joe.  Vocally he was great, but as a general human being he was awesome too.  For me, not wanting to sing against Joe had more to do with not wanting to find myself in a position trying to knockout one of my good buddies on Team Blake than anything else. 
But as fate would have it, there we stood.  Barrett Baber and Blind Joe.  It was both of our worst nightmares coming true.  Carson Daily asked us both how we felt.  I could tell Joe was nervous and so was I.  I probably hid mine a little better than he did but it didn’t matter.  I was up first and had no choice but to go up there and give it all I had and make it hard on Blake to decide who goes home and who stays.
I was in a pretty serious amount of pain during my song from my rib injury (see part 1) but at this point there was nothing to do but sing.  Dig deep and sing. 
I sang well.  I’d give it a B- rating vocally.  Not my best vocal performance, but definitely one of my best performances for other reasons.  This all had a lot to do with my injury.  Just like in rehearsal, I just connected with the song and it was electric in the room.  
The last line of the song says, “It’s a shame about the weather, but I know soon we’ll be together and I can’t wait till then”.  After all the highs and lows of the past few weeks I was really emotional in that moment.  I started to think about my kids and wife and instantly started to cry during the song.  I blubbered my way through the line and the audience rose to their feet.  I opened my eyes, let the mic hang down by my side, looked over and Sarah and said “I Love You”.  None of this was planned of course, but I guarantee you some producer in some video truck out in the parking lot stood up at that moment when I said, “I Love You” to my beautiful wife after delivering a gut wrenching performance like that and shouted YES!!!!! YES!!!!!!!  It’ll certainly make for great TV.  I hope that guy gets an Emmy.  I got all I need in the girl.
Joe sang.  It sounded a little nervous and found some magic in spots, but to me I felt like it never really got on track and stayed there.  It was certainly good.  I just never felt like it was as magic as I’d heard Joe deliver in the past.  I think Joe would agree, he’s performed better.
When you win on the show you are shuffled off for interviews and press and then hurried back to the hotel.  The artists that don’t win spend some time doing exit interviews and talking with producers before they go back to the hotel.  So often we don’t get to see the people who are eliminated before they leave. 
I didn’t see Joe until early the next morning.  I walked up and said, “Well Joe….”.  He smiled that big ole smile and reached out to grab me.  He gave me a big hug and held me while he talked into my ear “I really believe you’re gonna do something special in country music, man…I’m glad I got to go out with you on the stage.”  He was bummed.  I could see it and hear it in his voice.  He admitted that he got in his own head and that he just let the big moment get the best of him.  We talked for almost 30 minutes.  I could tell he was very sad, and possibly a little hung over, but we all know that feeling.   I felt terrible.  I love Joe and I think he’s a shining example of what people should do with their lives regardless of the adversity they face.
I thought about all the things I could say.  “You’re gonna make it, man.”  “This is such a great opportunity, man, don’t worry”.  “It just wasn’t meant to be”.  I didn’t say any of that stuff.  I just sat quietly and listened to him as he talked.  When he stopped I only said three things.  “Man…..that sucks…..I’m sorry….I don’t know why it had to be us, but I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”
I gave Joe a big hug.  His transportation van to the airport was leaving soon and I knew that would be the last time I saw him.  “I love you, dude, keep on doing what you’re doing; this is only the beginning,” I said.  “I love you too, Big Country,…..go win this thing,” he replied.  “I’m gonna give it hell, my brotha,” I said.  With that, I turned and walked away from one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever encountered.  I’m proud to have met Blind Joe.  There isn’t any other contestant I would have rather shared the Knockout Stage with.   I came out of that round the winner, but I bet all the other members of Team Blake would agree, we’re all winners because we got to know and see the grit and determination of Blind Joe from Grand Rapids Minnesota.  

Behind the Scenes of The Voice Knockouts / Written By Barrett Baber 

Rudolf and the Wrecked Rib – The Story of my knockout week on Season 9 of the Voice Part 1 – Written by Barrett Baber
“The winner of this Battle……is Barrett”.  Those words coming out of country superstar Blake Shelton’s mouth sent me sailing into the third taped performance on the #1 reality TV show in America.   After weeks of taping and spending tons of time away from my wife and my two small children, it was a great moment.  I floated down the steps and into a big “bro hug” from the man himself.   If you’ve watched the show, you may have noticed, but I get a little excited when I perform.  In fact, after watching the broadcast of my Battle Round, I actually thought the coolest part was when I came out of the tunnel.  Absolutely nothing I do on the stage at the voice that isn’t singing is planned.  This was the case with my entrance into the Voice Battles.  For whatever reason, it just felt right to skip.  Watching it back it looked like I had done that a thousand times.  I hadn’t in that particular situation, but I immediately recognized that skip.  It took me way back to high school.  That’s the “I’m about to go to battle” skip that is half nerves and half swagger that I had done so many times heading out of the locker room and toward the football field at Marion High School.  Don’t get it twisted; I wouldn’t call myself a “good” football player.  I would however say that I had the right attitude.  Seeing myself skip out of that tunnel and towards the voice stage made me sad a little.  It made me miss being 17.  It made me wish I could do it all over again and skip out of that locker room one more time.  But alas, such is the irony of life.  We never know how cool something is until we can’t do it anymore.  Unless of course, you’re on the voice and everything you do is being taped so you can re-watch just how cool it actually is over and over. 
“That was great,” said Blake in my ear as we embraced after the announcement of my victory.   I was JACKED up.  “Lets go do something special buddy,” I said in his ear.  “Let’s do it,” he yelled back.
Out the tunnel I went with a quick stop at the family section to tell my kids and my wife that I loved them.  It was so much fun!  I was riding high.  I was absolutely at the peak of confidence in myself and in the success that was unfolding right before my eyes. 
The next morning I packed my kids and wife into the transportation van to the airport, choked back a few tears as they pulled away, and headed back to my room to start work on the next step.  The Knock Out Rounds!
Part of my personal show regiment so far has been making sure that I was in great physical shape.  Truthfully, it’s really difficult sometimes to not completely let myself go.  I LOVE to eat, drink and be merry. When you throw two really small children in the mix and add two jobs, it can be a recipe for disaster from a weight gain standpoint.  Not long after I got word that I’d be doing the blind auditions though, I got pretty serious about my health and personal appearance.  Call it vain if you want, but the thought of 15 million people looking at me on a stage was all the motivation I needed.  I started killing it in the gym and watching my calorie intake.  Once I realized that during the blind, battle and knockout performance preparations process for the show we’d be essentially sequestered in a hotel in Los Angeles, things got pretty easy.  I’d rehearse for a while, write songs and always spend an hour or two working out almost every day.
I was in a great groove heading into battles and had lost almost 30 pounds in 6 weeks.  No use changing the routine for knockouts right?  So after Sarah and the kids left for the airport I headed over to the gym next door to the hotel and got to work.  I didn’t do anything really crazy.  It was a standard “chest” day.  I did some bench press, butterflies, some dumbbell stuff and as always 45 minutes of cardio at the end.  I felt fine.  I went back to my room, worked some more on my song and eventually called it a night. 
The next morning I noticed I had a little redness on the tip of my nose and it was sore.  The soreness increased and my nose started to swell a little. So instead of letting it just get worse, I had the production office take me to the urgent care clinic down the street.  I figured the last thing I wanted was to get some sort of weird sinus infection before the big performance in a few days.  I saw the doctor and he determined that I had an infected hair follicle inside my nose.  Yeah, cause that happens right?  Initially I was a little freaked but the people in the make-up department at the show are awesome, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal.  The doctor assured me it wasn’t and that all I needed was a shot of antibiotics just to make sure the infection didn’t spread around and cause me any trouble.  Apparently any kind of infection in the nose is cause for caution because it’s so close to the brain.  No big deal.  Shot in the butt.  Done.  A nurse came in and did the honors and I was on my way.
Now as all of this was happening I was starting to simultaneously feel some pressure and discomfort throughout my chest.  It kind of felt like what I’ve felt before when my blood pressure has spiked.  It was just a little uncomfortable.  It wasn’t painful, just sort of tight and a little difficult to breathe big deep breaths.    The nurses at the clinic had checked my blood pressure at the doctor’s office and it was awesome.  So I didn’t even mention it to the doctor.  That’s how minimal the discomfort at that point was.   As I left the doctors office, the pain and pressure increased.  After an hour it was becoming seriously uncomfortable to take a deep breath.  After two hours I was in pain.  My chest had some serious tightness and breathing had become pretty difficult.  I kind of got a little freaked.  I thought I might be having a reaction to the antibiotics I was given for my nose.  Just to be safe, I went back to the urgent care clinic to have the doctor make sure I wasn’t having a reaction.  The doctor checked me out.  No rash, no symptoms at all of a reaction.  He even did an EKG to rule out a heart attack.   This also allowed him to rule out a “panic attack” which I was relieved to know because that’s not my style at all.    
I got all of the thumbs up on all the possible scary causes of my chest pain and yet, the pain was still there and super intense.  The only other option was a chest x-ray.  That came back fine.   So I went back to the hotel, took some ibuprofen and tried to lie down.  I eventually went to sleep but woke up at 5 am in EXCRUCIATING pain.  I could barely draw breath.  Every breath was extremely painful.  I feel like I’m a pretty tough guy when it comes to my pain tolerance. I’m telling you the truth; I was at a level 10.  I could barely walk.  Any position I tried to stand, sit, and lay in hurt like hell.  There was zero escape.  It felt like a sharp pain across my chest through my body and out of my back every time I took a breath.  I walked up to the production office and said “Yo…..guys…..this is serious…..I need to see someone as soon as possible”.  I’d already been to the doctor twice so I figured I’d go see the chiropractor and see if it was an alignment issue.  I was the first patient there. 
This super stylish older guy with a cool accent and awesome salt and pepper hair walks in and says, “Wow man…you look like you’re in pain”.  “You think?” I thought.  He asked me a few questions, about what areas of my body I’d been working out recently, diet, etc.  Then he tried to have me lay face down on the table.  Not happening.  I kid you not there was a moment when trying to lay face down on that chiropractor table that I thought I might faint from the pain.  Worst of all I couldn’t breathe.  He helped me up and said, “I know what’s wrong”.  “You’ve got a cracked rib, a rib out of joint, or a cartilage strain between several ribs.  I bet you thought you were having a heart attack when this all started huh?”  Crazy right?  It definitely did cross my mind that I might be having a heart attack at 35 and how ridiculous that would be.
I won’t bore you with the torture that ensued, but he started pushing and jack hammering around with some apparatus.  It hurt like hell.  Eventually he got me loose enough to lie down face first for long enough to straighten my spine.  He said there was no way to know without an x-ray if it was a crack or just a strain but he didn’t think it was a crack because the doctor would have caught that the previous day.   “Ibuprofen and cold therapy and after a few days you’ll feel better but might be a week or two before you’re fully recovered.” he said.    
The problem was this, I had band rehearsals, stage rehearsals and a couple of sing through runs with some show staff before the actual Knock Out Round and I could barely breathe.  The whole breathing thing is pretty crucial with singing. It’s especially crucial with the kind of rock out singing I do.  Anything more than a very slight breath was a big time ouch.  I was pretty low on the morale front on Saturday.  I just couldn’t believe I’d kicked so much ass to come this far only to hurt myself lifting weights in a way that would make it feel impossible to sing. 
I walked into my sing through Saturday and Tre, who works in the music department on the show could tell I was in pain.  I told her about everything and she spent the next few minutes getting info and basically functioning as my therapist.  She said “Why don’t you sing it once for me and let’s see what you can or can’t do at this point”.  I sang the song with my eyes closed, wincing at times because of the pain.  At the end of the song, I opened my eyes and she was just smiling, it was a funny looking smile that was half sympathetic and half happy.  She said “I know you’re in pain, but this may just be the best thing that has ever happened to you in this moment with this song.  You’re such a physical presence on stage and so far that’s been a huge asset for you with the previous songs.  This song is different, and I didn’t know how we were going to go into your heart and pull out that emotional connection that you really needed for this song.  It just happened.  It’s like you’re broken open and it’s incredible”.  I’m not going to lie; I fell to pieces emotionally.  All the sudden I went from thinking this ride was over, to realizing it might just be the opposite.  It was a huge relief.
I slept a little better on Saturday night and woke up in a little less pain Sunday.  It was still very uncomfortable to take a really deep breath; I had stage rehearsal that day so I had no choice.  Suck it up.   “Just let it be what it is,” I thought.  “Allow yourself to be broken and vulnerable emotionally because you sure are physically.
When I got to stage for rehearsal it was obvious that most of the staff knew I was hurt.  And believe me, It still hurt like crazy, but I gave em all my most convincing “Much better, gonna be fine”.  I didn’t want anyone to think for a second I wasn’t capable of delivering my “A” game at anytime. I walked on to the stage and the room fell silent.  I’m not sure this is the case, but it did feel like everyone was watching to see just what was going to happen. 
I started to sing and just like Tre said, it felt a little different, good different.  It dripped with emotion and feeling.  It was a really incredible moment.  It was by NO means an A+ technically amazing vocal performance.  But there was something happening.  Something intangible.  When I was walking out of the tunnel headed out of the sound stage I heard someone say “wow”.   I moved gingerly out of the room, because anything more made me wince.  I rounded the corner and there was Tre. “I don’t know what it is man…..but it’s real and it’s raw.” 
I walked out with a dinged-up body but a shining heart.  “I can do this,” I thought.  Just can’t get worse physically between now and the performance.
Sarah got in and I felt a little better Sunday.  That was probably more mental than physical.  I always feel better when I’m around her anyway. I kept up the steady ibuprofen and ice packs and then staggered out of bed on Monday morning ready to do whatever I could.
Monday my pain level was a 7.  Not good.  Not as bad as Friday or Saturday, but definitely painful to breathe. 
I obviously can’t disclose in part 1 of this story what the outcome of the audition was.  Honestly, that’s not really what this long story is about.  I wanted to write this more to remind myself and the people who might read this of what so many of us forget sometimes.   At the moment I first felt how really serious my injury was, I thought that it was the absolute worst-case scenario.  To not be able to draw a deep breath and be participating in a nationally televised singing competition is about as bad as it could be right?  But in that experience I discovered what I believe is one of the most beautiful and mysterious life truths that exists.
In that space with that song and my personality I needed to be broken in order to become better, to grow, and to find something that was deeper than just a great vocal performance.   I needed to be broken physically to find my real voice.  Not the voice that hits notes and does awesome runs, but the voice that has feeling.
One of the most awesome things about doing The Voice is that throughout the process it’s forced me to examine my past.  I’ve rehashed my life over and over again in interviews and with producers.  I’ve gone over some of the most magical and beautiful moments I’ve experienced like meeting my wife and having my children.  I’ve also looked closely at some of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced.  In retelling my story, particularly the times of pain and darkness, I’ve found that those moments were much like my moment of physical agony leading up to the knockout round.  In the moment, I couldn’t see how any of those painful and dark moments made sense, and still don’t sometimes.  But the beautiful lesson I think I’ve learned from knockouts and The Voice in general, is that it has been in some of my darkest places of hurt and despair when I’ve been the most vulnerable and available for growth as a person.  The knockouts proved to me again that sometimes being broken, only means that we are broken open.  It proved to me that sometimes when we fall, we fall up and not down. 
My hope for anyone who watches my knockout performance is that they will be able to view it as not only a musical performance, but also as a metaphor for how we respond to the bad things in life.  I hope that they view it and see that we as people always have the opportunity to take the bad things that happen to us in life, and find ways, even if it is years down the road, to uncover how those things made us the most vulnerable for growth.  I hope you all can find a place where you view your brokenness as openness and your stumbles in life and trips in the right direction.
Stay tuned for Part 2  

Baber Wins Voice Battle, Advances to Knockout Rounds 

In an epic Voice Battle round, Baber rose to the occasion delivering a energetic rendition of "Walkin In Memphis" by Marc Cohn.  Coach Blake Shelton paired Baber against another 4 chair turn contestant Dustin Christiansen making some fans nervous.  The duo delivered a stellar rendition of the iconic song, both shining in just the right moments.  In the end Shelton decided that Barrett was the winner of Battle leaving Christiansen available for the "steal".  Mere moments after Baber exited the stage Christiansen was stolen by Adam Levine continuing his journey on the top rated singing show on television.  The "Knockout Rounds" are on the horizon and fans within Arkansas and nationally continue to be excited to see what unfolds for Barrett Baber on his journey with The Voice. 

Baber Gets 4 Chairs on NBC's The Voice, chooses Blake Shelton as Coach 

On Monday September 21st 2015 Barrett appeared on the hit TV show The Voice.  Singing the classic "Angel Eyes" by The Jeff Healey Band, Baber wowed the coaches getting all 4 to turn their chairs.  The coaches battled for the 35 year old singer and in the end Baber chose country music super star Blake Shelton as his coach.  "I'm really excited to work with Blake and get better as an artist and songwriter through the coaching he'll give me" said Baber.  Barrett now move into the "Battle Rounds" which begin to air in October.  Follow Barrett on his twitter @barrettbaber or on his facebook fanpage for up to the minute updates on his progress during Season 9 of The Voice.  

New Barrett Baber Merchandise Now Available In The Merch Store 

For several weeks Barrett worked hand in hand with the talented people at Blk Box Labs in Fayetteville, Arkansas developing new logos.  The new merchandise has arrived and is now available in the merch store!  The new logos feature hand drawn lettering with a vintage flare.  Additionally, the "Double B Guitar Headstock" logo that appears in the "full hand drawn text" logo is a stand alone logo that is featured on several new merchandise products in the merch store at .    Visit the Blk Box Labs website and check out some of the other cool designs they've created for some big time clients.  Blk Box Labs  

Fan Review of the "Falling Again" EP 

Long Time Barrett Baber Fan and well known Blogger Trent Wooldridge Reviews "Falling Again" EP

I've been listening to Barrett Baber's music for more than a decade.  From late night gigs in every smoky bar in Little Rock during my early twenties, to sing alongs with the car stereo in order to stay awake on the way home from Razorback football games, to dashboard drumming on family road trips now that I'm in my thirties, Barrett's music has provided the soundtrack for much of my adult life, right down to the first dance at my wedding.  So when he asked me if I'd take a listen to his newest EP "Falling Again" the answer was an obvious and emphatic "YES".
The six songs that comprise "Falling Again" do a fantastic job of showcasing Baber's trademark versatility, expertly alternating accelerator-down jams with evocative ballads that together deliver a listener experience made for sunglasses and rolled-down windows.  In complement to Baber's talents, full instrumental accompaniment and superb mixing provide a punch and polish to the album that keeps things fresh. Even after several times through the album, I keep hearing things that make me stop and go back to listen again.  
"Falling Again" opens in classic Baber fashion with "6 Beers and a Dream", a live-in-the-moment song that joyfully revels in the journey of trying to make it big instead of bemoaning the difficulties. An upbeat rhythm and lighthearted lyrics get the album started on a positive note reminiscent of "Fratbar Superstar", one of Baber's title tracks from a previous album. 
The second song on "Falling Again" is its title track, a sweetly sung love song that folds soulful vocals into a tune with much more depth than I first gave it credit for. There is a lot going on here musically, and each new discovered element will only add to your enjoyment of the song. 
"Somethin' Bout the Summertime" is the third song on this EP, and has quickly become my first favorite song from "Falling Again", though likely not my last. It's Barrett Baber at his best, which is pushing a driving, head-bopping beat with an enthusiastic vocal performance that will have you singing along just as quickly as you can learn the words. 
"Tipsy on Wine" kicks off the latter half of the EP with a love song that takes the listener to the Caribbean (or at least Destin) with its lilting rhythm and romantic imagery. A song about a couple getting away from it all that lends itself nicely to showcasing Baber's versatility as a singer. 
"Plan the Wind" is the fifth song on "Falling Again" and is to my ears the most classically country song on the album. From the percussion to the guitars to the encouraging tone of the lyrics, I was taken back to riding shotgun in my dad's truck as a boy in the early 1990s, listening to Y95 out of Camden, Arkansas. I loved that era of country, and "Plan the Wind" is a worthy throwback. 
The final song on "Falling Again" is "Feeling That Way", a nod to the notion that maintaining a relationship can make just as romantic a love song as beginning one. It's a song Barrett Baber likely could not have written a decade ago, nor one that myself as a listener could have appreciated, but one that proves to have been well worth the wait. 
I have been a friend of Barrett Baber for a long time, but I wouldn't still be listening if his music had gotten stale. I suspect he wouldn't still be playing if it had gotten stale, either. "Falling Again" is a hit with me because it shows his growth as a musician and songwriter while maintaining his own distinctive sound that he's cultivated over the years. If you're a new listener, it will be a hit with you because that distinctive Barrett Baber sound is pretty damned fun to begin with. Whether you're an old fan or new, I can say without hesitation that this album is worthy of your money and time, and that you should purchase it upon its release on May 8th. 

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