Sam Baker

Sam Baker

BandAmericana

"how beautiful are these days"

Biography

Singer-songwriter Sam Baker reveals a poetic genius so straightforward and undemanding it evokes wonder.

Rarely do such plain truths do life—or listeners—justice.

Laced with quiet lamentation, Baker’s lyrics lay bare the lies we live in pursuit of dreams. Mercifully, his songs are anything but morose.

Rooted in the belief that each day is beautiful -Baker’s music celebrates equally the ugly and the exquisite, the mundane and the mysterious—giving us all a reason to take another look at ourselves and each other.

Before the sun
Before the heat
Before we untangle
From our sheets
Before this summer day unfurls
Pretty world

Session pros and performing artists from Nashville and Austin are paired with Baker, whose Dylan-like voice is as dusty as a dirt road in a drought. Elegant arrangements and inspired performances are provided by Texas hill country rising star Walt Wilkins and Nashville session pros Tim Lorsch, Mike Daly, Ron de la Vega, and Mickey Grimm. The result is magic.

Pretty world reflects a broad range of influences—from the music of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan to the novels of Jorge Luis Borges and Leo Tolstoy.

“I liked Tolstoy’s idea of working in the field everyday. Showing up. Making history one row at a time,” Baker says. “That history makes people, as much as people make history. Writing a song is like showing up, one row at a time- that’s all.”

One of six children, Sam Baker grew up in Itasca, a small Texas prairie town southwest of Dallas. He listened to his mother play hymns on the organ at the local Presbyterian church and his father play recordings of blues legends Lighting Hopkins, Brownie McGee and Sonny Terry. More often than not, My Fair Lady, Handel’s Messiah and Johnny Cash would be added to the mix.

“One of the first records I remember hearing is Johnny Cash’s Ride This Train,” Baker says. “Even more than the music, I remember the stories.” Recorded in 1960, Ride This Train defined Cash as one of American’s master storytellers. Like the redoubtable Man in Black, Sam Baker’s truest talent may be his ability to tell stories.

“I came back to writing songs after writing short fiction,” Baker says. “Story is everything, at least to me.”

In fact, pretty world, the companion piece to the critically 2004 acclaimed release mercy- is a novella: a tightly structured collection of songs chronicling the lies we go to bed with and the truths we wake up to—without sentimentality or apology—just a searing intensity.

It is not your husband’s move or his hired hand
He uses whips on the horses
He is that kind of man
You pretend he whispers so you don’t take a stand
But there are scars on the flanks
They look like fans

Baker’s songs reflect a life lived well and nearly lost—a bomb set off by Peru’s Shining Path killed his seatmates - and left him with the unwavering conviction that every moment counts- and everyday is beautiful.


Marla Williams, Andy Ryan, Lisa Shively

Lyrics

Baseball

Written By: Sam Baker

Another Saturday comes and goes
Another south wind comes and blows
Another baseball field
Another pop fly
Another bunch of boys
Another blue sky

Iron

Written By: Sam Baker

It's iron he hangs
He loves his work
He drives hours each day
Never been hurt
Got a back of steel
Burns on the sleeves of his shirt

Change

Written By: Sam Baker

There was a drygoods store
A flower shop
A barber with no nose
An alcoholic cop

Discography

p r e t t y w o r l d
BlueLimeStone Release July 2007

Radio play:
Orphan, Juarez, pretty world, Psychic, Broken Fingers

m e r c y
Independent Release June 2004

Radio play:
Baseball, Pony, Iron. Thursday

Set List

120 minutes
All original material with narrative