Kaitlyn Baker sounds like country sunshine feels.
Warmth on a cold winter’s night, Baker’s personality as emoted from her lyrics evoke equal parts charm and optimism.
So Baker works well with Folk Soul Revival as the music for a benefit for JDRF. Presented by Bristol Host Lions Club, Concert for a Cure for JDRF stages at Maddie’s Hall at the Bristol VFW in Bristol, Tennessee, on Saturday.
“My mamaw was a diabetic,” said Baker. “She passed away from complications of diabetes. It was so difficult. She was a really bad diabetic.”
JDRF began as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. To emphasize its plan to end type 1 juvenile diabetes, its name morphed into the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, or JDRF. According to JDRF, an equal number of children and adults — about 100 per day, are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
“I would love to do anything I can to help,” Baker said. “My mamaw lost her leg. I watched her going through all of that.”
As with many families, the singer of such singles as “Burn” and “Heart of Appalachia,” hails from a family touched with diabetes.
“My mom is a borderline diabetic. Also my aunt,” Baker said. “It definitely runs in the family. It’s a bad, bad thing. I feel strongly about helping out.”
Baker’s help ties to her music. The singer, whose latest release “Blackbird,” snagged attention well beyond her roots in Pound, Virginia, aims to accentuate the positive via song.
“Nothing makes me happier than playing music,” she said. “It radiates through me and I hope through all the people who love my music. I want people to feel that.”
On stage in some manner since childhood, Baker’s first appearances came in church. In those earliest of days, 7-year-old Kaitlyn Baker sang in Pyles Memorial Church back home in Pound.
“I wouldn’t trade that for the world,” Baker said. “Singing in church is the foundation that built pretty much everything I’m doing. When I started singing in church, it grounded me. I listen to gospel music all the time. It’s crucial, especially in today’s world.”
Meanwhile, Baker plans a follow-up of her pop-flavored country “Blackbird” EP in the coming new year. She said to expect a new single early, after which either a full album or EP will emerge as new. At the moment, she’s enthused by recent news regarding a song she wrote.
“Georgette Jones has a cut of mine on her new album,” Baker said.
The only daughter of Country Music Hall of Fame members George Jones and Tammy Wynette recorded Baker’s “The Trouble is You.” The song turns up on Jones’ album, “Skin.”
“I’m over the moon about that,” Baker said. “I’ve had it on repeat since it came out.”
Music can heal. It’s not a cure for diabetes or cancer or heart disease, but it can make those who suffer from such a disease feel better in the moment. Music provides relief. It’s therapeutic for the singer of and listener to the songs.
“It’s everything for me,” Baker said. “It’s the reason why I do what I do. I love to make people happy, make an impact on someone’s life.”