Category Archives: Fun Fact

Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker

Who’s Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker? After this blog post you’ll be asking the greater question. Why have I never heard of him? If you’re ahead of the game and know all about Baker, then you’re either really into history, Indiana, or motorcycles.

I got my first taste of Baker from an IndyStar article published a couple weeks ago. I was blown away my this man, and even more so that he slipped under my radar for so long. Here are some facts I found interesting about Baker.

  • He lived in Garfield Park just a stone’s throw away from where I used to live when I first got married, and since moving, now only about a mile and a half away.
  • He won the first motorized race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909, which was a 10-mile motorcycle race. Side note: the first race ever at the IMS was a balloon race.
  • He also raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 1922 and finished 11th.
  • He made more than 143 attempts at a variety of timed, long-distance records. One of his most noteworthy transcontinental rides was in 1914 when he rode from San Diego to New York City in 11 days, 12 hours, and 10 minutes.
  • He rode and drove roughly 5.5 million miles from 1908 to 1933.
  • He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

These are just a few facts that sparked my attention. It just so happens that we are in the midst of the 103rd anniversary of his record-setting 1914 ride. He began on May 3, 1914 (today is May 4) and finished May 14, 1914.

I found a website that has Baker’s journal notes from his 1914 trip. It was such a wondrous story, I had to write a song about it. I just finished it today, so I thought I would ¬†share the lyrics with you. I typically don’t like to share the lyrics right after finishing a song, but it seemed fitting.

Verse 1:
Headed East from San Diego
to the City of New York.
For a record-setting ride,
I filled my canteen to the cork.
The sand pushed me to the limit
as I pushed my two-speed horse.
With only a few paved miles laid out,
I would have to set the course.

Verse 2:
Spent the morning in the desert
at triple-digit degrees.
By the time I called it quits,
I rode a mile above the sea.
I worked my way toward the valley
full of bleached-white cattle bones.
Would this machine keep me alive,
or would it become my tombstone?

Verse 3:
Took all day to cross the river
that was swollen on all sides.
I looked for a shallow answer,
but learned the depth of my pride.
I had thousands of miles ahead
with no easy route in sight.
I worried about tomorrow
before I made it to tonight.

Verse 4:
Tried to not let the storm catch me,
so I mounted my machine.
With no time to stop for breakfast,
the thought of mud was my caffeine.
I rode atop the railroad ties
to escape the tough terrain.
“Clear the road: I am a-coming”
was the native-spread refrain.

Verse 5:
Made up my mind I would not stop
till I touched the city streets.
As my journey came to a close,
it all felt so bittersweet.
I came in strong though late at night
upon my seven-horse steed.
Little did I know that I’d be called
the pioneer of speed.

 

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Four Panes

The sixth installment of the miniseries is a little

different than the past few. I didn’t do this painting,

but it was the inspiration for the song, Four Panes.

My friend Nathan sent me a link to a Pinterest board

full of art, and I chose this one. It was probably the

least likely to be used. I mean look at it. It’s a painting

of old window panes. The painting and I had a staring

contest, and honestly, I think I won because I got what

I wanted from it. A song. As my mind went blank from

staring too long, it began to fill with a story. One that

was partially inspired by the home I grew up in, and

partially a made up tale. Even the made up parts

held truth within my own heart though. Four Panes

is one of my personal favorites from the album.

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New YeART

New year means new art. For this post it happens

to be visual art. Even though most people know me

as a musician, most people probably don’t know I

have a BFA in Electronic Art/ Animation from Ball

State University. There are certain things I miss about

being in art school, mainly the accessibility of materials

and a studio. My visual art has transformed into what’s

accessibile to me currently, which happens to be Instagram

and Photoshop (but only until my trial runs out).

Here is something new I’m doing in 2015 to try to combine

my music and visual art. My preliminary title is “Word Painting.”

Here is the first installment that I posted today on Instagram.

Follow on Instagram at raywyatt_

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Midnight

For all the bloggers, my album goes live

tonight at midnight (Eastern time).

raywyatt.bandcamp.com

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Fun Fact

There’s a stereotype among musicians/ artists that we’re not very athletic.

Well I wanted to let you in on the secret. I was an athlete before I was a musician.

I was even an artist before I was a musician. In fact, my degree is in Electronic Art/ Animation.

That’s all. Just a fun fact about me, since I can’t share my music with you all yet.

The picture above is me being alley-ooped by my friend David. As you can see,

he’s trying to¬†scamper away before I bring the hammer down on him.

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