A professional musician since he was in his late teens, BJ has done over 4000 gigs playing mainly his own original material or backing up singer songwriters from both sides of the Atlantic. He toured all over The Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, France and Italy and even a little bit of the US with people like Iain Matthews, David Corley, Lynne Hanson, Cara Luft, Shannon Lyon, Amy Speace, Eugene Ruffolo, Terri Binion, Jenee Halstead, Rod Picott and many more.
Baartmans can be heard as a session player on countless (inter-)national recordings. As a producer he's been responsible for easily a 100 albums released between the mid 90s and now, most of them in the Americana genre, music fueled by blues, jazz, country, folk or world music, sometimes hard rockin' too. He's worked with acts like Jeff Finlin, Eric Devries, Shannon Lyon, David Corley, Matthews Southern Comfort and Carter Sampson.
BJ's own artist catalogue, songs he brings as a singer songwriter, has often been labelled as Americana. He is a storyteller at heart, writes deep personal stories with a good sense of putting things into perspective.
The instrumental records that he also regularly puts out show a more jazzy, impressionistic approach. Since the late 90's there have been a good 15 albums released under his own name or under the band names BJ's Pawnshop or BJ's Wild Verband. Some in Dutch, some in English. BJ's also a member of Dutch top roots rock collective Hidden Agenda Deluxe and the latest version of Matthews Southern Comfort, a band formed around legendary singer Iain Matthews.
BJ Baartmans as a guitar player can be described as eclectic. He draws from a lot of sources in a way similar to what players like Ry Cooder, Richard Thompson, Nels Cline or Bill Frisell do. Hard to pinpoint him to a specific style, although he has a characteristic tone, a bluesy laid back feel quite his own.
He is a really gifted slide player, channeling some Lowell George, Bonnie Raitt, Derek Trucks with an original approach to the use of open tunings and typical scales. And he's been digging deep into the roots of what made players he loves into what they are, exploring old school jazz, blues, rockabilly and soul music.
On the side, he plays a lot of bass and string instruments like mandolin, lap steel, bouzouki, banjo, mandocello and some keyboards and drum parts too on a lot of recordings. BJ Baartmans' work as a producer is usually done in his own backyard studio, Studio Wild Verband, where a nice collection of good old vintage studio equipment (mics, preamps, outboard gear) sits well in an 'in the box' recording and mixing setup.
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