Aurora native Nicholas 'Blaze' Baum lands gig playing guitar on Blake Shelton's new album

Jackie Rehwald
Springfield News-Leader
Aurora native Nicholas "Blaze" Baum recently landed a gig playing guitar on Blake Shelton's new album.

Nicholas "Blaze" Baum made headlines in 2015 when the Aurora, Missouri native made a funny YouTube video that depicted him and country music star Brad Paisley hanging out and jamming.

The "Brad Paisley" in the video was actually Blaze wearing an oversized mask — but the real Paisley discovered and shared the video on Twitter the next day and invited Blaze to come up on stage at an upcoming concert.

Fast forward a few years and Baum continues to find himself making music with the stars as he furthers his music career.

Blaze recently played guitar on the title track of Blake Shelton's new album, Body Language.

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Aurora native Nicholas "Blaze" Baum recently landed a gig playing guitar on Blake Shelton's new album.

Asked how he landed the gig, Blaze explained that he'd already been tapped to play the guitar on the original version of the song before Shelton chose to add the song to his new album. When Shelton and his producer heard Blaze playing on the original version, they asked Blaze to continue working with them on the song. 

"Of course when I get an offer like that, I can't turn that down," Blaze said. "That's an opportunity of a lifetime."

While recording "Body Language," Blaze worked long distance with Shelton's producer Scott Hendricks.

"I would record at the studio where I lived and I would basically send him my guitar tracks. I would take feedback and notes from him," he said. "Scott is a perfectionist and he pays very close attention to details. He is very meticulous, and I also consider myself to be very meticulous so working in that kind of situation makes me very happy."

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COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the music scene in Nashville

Aurora native Nicholas "Blaze" Baum recently landed a gig playing guitar on Blake Shelton's new album.

Blaze has been living in Nashville for some time and said the pandemic really took a toll on the music scene there.

During the past year when playing live shows wasn't really an option for anyone, Blaze went back to school online and is pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer science. 

"I want to go back to school for something that I thought might be considered more pandemic-proof than working in the music industry," he said. "Just another skillset and be able to have something to rely on."

Still, music remains his number one passion and he looks forward to being back on stage soon. 

"I'm sure I'll be back out on the road soon with a new gig," he said. "I'm ready to get back out there and start seeing some smiling faces in the audience again."

Prior to the pandemic, Blaze played with 80s rocker Bobby Blotzer and Ratt for nearly two years.

For the past five years he's played with the Swon Brothers, including as part of an opening act for Carrie Underwood's tour.

"It was amazing. I got to check so many items off my bucket list like playing at Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville," Blaze said of that tour. "It was three months of pure fun. Some of my greatest memories are on that tour.

"I don't really know how I could put into words how important and special those three months were to me."

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Brad Paisley invited Blaze to play on stage in 2015

In 2015, Brad Paisley invited Aurora native Blaze Baum to perform on stage with him at a concert in Colorado. Baum recently had the opportunity to play guitar on Blake Shelton's new album.

Another important memory for Blaze is, of course, when Paisley invited the then 21-year-old to play on stage in 2015.

Baum and Paisley played Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride and Joy" and Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way." Paisley brought Baum on stage a second time to play Paisley's hits "River Bank" and "Alcohol" — the encore of the show.

While introducing Baum to the crowd, Paisley said, "He's a great, great player, and we are going to do a couple of songs. And he is going to kick my butt."

Looking back, Blaze called the experience a "dream come true."

"That was a very special moment in my life and I can never thank Brad enough for all that he did and for being such a cool guy," Blaze said. "Everything that happened afterward was because of the opportunity I got with him, so I am so grateful to Brad."

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In the years since, Blaze has bumped into Paisley a couple of times. Once he was invited to Paisley's Halloween party.

"He is always such a great guy," Blaze said. "He's always a very welcoming and warm person."

Now age 27, Blaze was 12 when he moved from Aurora. He parents still live in the Ozarks.

He recalled his father teaching him to play the guitar as a very young child. By the time Blaze turned 5, his dad set him up with professional lessons in Springfield.

Keep up with Blaze on social media by searching for "BlazeOnStage" on Instagram.