When California singer and songwriter Geoff Baker was 14, he "borrowed" a guitar and never gave it back.
At first, he played from a youthful catalog of postpunk and Brit-pop music but later transitioned to acoustic and roots songs by Mississippi John Hurt, Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake and others.
Now, Baker blends the energy of postpunk with finger-picking, folksy values and his own political sentiments in his original repertoire.
"It sounds rootsy with bittersweet country lyrics, but there's a pounding rhythm that would sound more at home in a new wave song from 1974," Baker says.
Since 2001, Baker has been picking up gigs around the globe in Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and, more recently, in the United States.
He has released two EPs, "Patriot Acts" and "Adding Up the Everything We Lost," and two full-length albums, "Know the Rain Here" and "Where Are You Now?" (2011).
The latest album runs the gamut of "louder" songs, recorded with a full band, and solo acoustic pieces, Baker says. The title track and many of the other songs on the album were written in 2001 in the wake of a close friend's death. The songs express the emotions he felt at the time.
Baker will perform a diverse set, ranging from traditional folk to sloppy rock, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, at The Playwright Public House, 258 A St., Ashland.
The show is free. Call 541-488-9128.