Monday, August 28, 2017

Sam Baker – Land of Doubts

Sam Baker – Land of Doubts

Following a European tour behind his new album, Land Of Doubt, Sam Baker is turning his attention to creative projects in 2017: Opening his first-ever exhibition as a visual artist, staging an original play and filming a documentary. As you may know, Sam has limited hearing after being on a bus that exploded during a 1986 terrorist attack in Peru, but he’s from Texas, now living in Austin. There’s a lot more bio to cover on him but the album has 15 songs and they’re all worth talking about on one level or another. This is his 5th album since launching his music career, and he’s now expanding his reach by writing a play called Broken Fingers, filming a documentary and staging an art exhibition (Dream Of The Snow Geese) in Santa Fe, NM. And this album which serves as a companion to 2013’s Say Grace, starts off with “Summer Wind” and it quickly passes with some nifty guitar parts into “Some Kind Of Blue” which kicks up into high gear in the songwriting department.

A serious war number with everything he’s got behind it to really pull off a top shelf song, and that is honestly what it is, nothing more to really explain except to recommend headphones. You won’t be sorry you listened, especially if you like a narrative approach to the army about Charlie fighting Charlie. It goes through all the gnarly mud to be held in the trenches. You’ll have to just hear the rest for yourself. The instrumental “The Silvered Moon” is up next and it’s a quick set up for what comes next in the form of “Margaret” which gets tagged the token love song. And this is where it gets a little soft but bounces back after you get through it.

“Love Is Patient” is an otherworldly thing worth waiting for, so anything could come before it and not have any worries. This is my favorite song by Sam Baker, and I wouldn’t have looked past this album if it were not for this amazing opus. Nothing on the album is composed quite like it, in fact nothing out there I’ve heard lately sounds so majestic and real. It’s a fake world of a little of everything, and music is no exception. It’s a breath of fresh air to hear something from so far out in left field. I’m glad I heard it and kept looking-into his work. It should hold up in my playlist for a long time coming. The track already feels like it has that much resonation quality.

“Leave” is almost a complete 180 in contrast, but not a complete loss as a song to enjoy after that. It just never quite picks up until it threatens to at the end, but he makes his message perfectly clear in the lyrics. “Pastures Fit For Thoroughbreds” and “Song Of Sunrise Birds” are two more instrumentals, the former being the longer and more enjoyable sounding of the two, and a lot more interesting as well. This isn’t your grand-daddy’s jazz, but it isn’t exactly modern either. It falls somewhere in between the two. And “Peace Out” gets the last word in edgewise, which is by far one of the most modern moments on what is an amazing collection of modern folk songs. 


Randy Jones

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