Carroll Baker embraces this province and its people. “Newfoundland and Newfoundlanders have always been very kind and generous every time we come,” she begins with her trademark warmth.
‘I Live Every Word’
This tour is a little different, however. When Baker visits Stephenville (Sept. 25), Corner Brook (Sept 26), Grand Falls-Windsor (Sept 27) Gander (Sept 29), Carbonear (Sept 30) and Holy Heart Theatre in St. John’s (Oct 1), it will be with her Gospel and Hits tour.
“It’s no secret to anybody that Gospel music has always been my favourite. Gospel music seems to touch my heart in a way no other music does and I live every word,” she begins.
She is, she shares, only human and she has had the same troubles, the same sicknesses and the same challenges in life that everybody has had. When she’s down or in need, it’s always God she turns to.
Hanging by a Thread
“Two years ago – Nov 12 will be two years – my life was just hanging by a thread. I should not be talking to you right now. When you are lying on an operating table and the surgeon is looking in your eyes and they say to you; ‘I’m going to do the best I can but I don’t know if I can save you’, you just look at that person and say; ‘I’m not worried.’ I can honestly tell you I wasn’t. It didn’t enter my mind that I could die or that I would die. I just knew I was going to be alright.”
As she began to feel better after the surgery, she says she spoke to God.
“I don’t think I ever spent as much time in conversation with God as I did then. You learn more from God when you’re quiet, when you are listening to him. It was revealed in my heart and my mind, through things that God told me, about myself, about life and about what He did for me and what his reasons were, and one of the reasons was this Gospel tour.”
Baker explains how she didn’t plan the tour, but the pieces seemed to just fall in place. “I said, if you want this to happen Lord, it will. Then the emails came, and I said, Lord, it’s you working. You want this to happen.”
But life on the road isn’t always easy, and filling seats and selling out venues can have its challenges. After 50 years in the business (and with 50 years of marriage to husband/manager John) sometimes it can feel as if her faith is being tested.
Sense of Humour
“I have so much to tell people and so much to say through my Gospel music that I pray they come to hear it,” she says sincerely. Baker has an amazing sense of humour too. Recalling earlier days on stage when she’d sing the somewhat raunchy lyrics of Never Been this Far Before and follow it up with a Gospel tune.
“Funny thing. I would do that song and follow it up with Why Me Lord or How Great Thou Art and it didn’t fizz on them. It must be because when I sing I’ve Never Been this Far Before I’m singing words that women understand, but yet when I sing Why Me Lord or How Great Thou Art or Amazing Grace they understand that too, both men and women. If there’s a truth element in everything you do it’s embraced.”
Vaughn Rowsell of Vaughnco Entertainment arranged this tour, and Rowsell has an interesting relationship with the opening act for the St. John’s show; Bobby Evans just happens to be Rowsell’s dad.
“Bobby Evans. Wow. He’s absolutely wonderful. People have been asking for the two of us to be put together. He’s such an incredible singer. I’ve been listening to his music online and he’s a superstar. I think we should try to work on doing a song together. I would love to do the one Eddie Eastman and I recorded together. Who knows. We may surprise everybody. Anything can happen,” she teases.
As for the future past these set of Newfoundland shows, Baker grows quiet for a moment.
“I’ll never totally live my dream, no person on the earth ever thinks they’ve lived their dream. One day I said, I’m going to retire. It was short lived. I just missed what I did. But it’s getting more difficult.
Honestly, this might be my last trip to Newfoundland, I don’t know. So I hope I get to see everyone this time.”
For more info visit vaughncoentertainment.com