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SAM BAKER —LAND OF DOUBT (Self-Released)

 

www.sambakermusic.com

 

 

Texas singer-songwriter, Sam Baker started out in the music business late in life, but he has been unfazed by the attention, and adulation. His spare and largely unique style of work never ceases to turn heads. Stripped back to the minimal both in way of his pointed lyrics and arrangements Baker’s latest offering Land Of Doubt opens with the moody, less than convivial “Summer Wind”. Thankfully, the next track “Same Kind Of Blue” lifts the tempo as he speaks of a guy joining the army in 1968, it would be the time of the Vietnam War, and how Charlie was fighting Charlie just to stay alive. Baker at his best! Other than Baker, the players involved are Neilson Baker, Will Kimbrough, Dan Mitchell, Eamon McLoughlin and David Henry. 

 

On utilising piano the sound is a sombre one on “Margaret”, this as Baker sings of when Margaret smiles and learns in close, her long black hair covers us both he sings. When Margaret sings the angels whisper he adds. Simple and intriguing and with electric guitar (Kimbrough) and piano deftly wrapped ‘round Baker’s vocals he captivates the attention of the listener. His methodical lyrics and the moods evoked are ever graceful as heard on a piano warmed “Love Is Patient”, and he likewise plods along, slow and measured on “Leave”. With it containing something of a hypnotic air your thoughts become entangled in Baker’s detailed, and less than welcoming, and as ever involved lyrics. “The Feast Of Saint Valentine” possesses greater dynamics, and it is an interesting one as he sings about in the ‘dale’. I wonder where the idea of this song came, and where he was when he wrote it. Touring the UK? 

“Moses In The Reeds” is a charismatic tale, his general drawing power doesn’t kick in fully or anywhere like it till he tenders the piece (“Same Kind Of Blue” accepted). Man, it is a knock -out! He isn’t shy to reproduce a little more magic either. For “Say The Right Words” warmed in airy piano, and horns contains a hypnotic feel, if mellow is your poison then this jazz hinted affair will be right up your alley.  

 

Sounding like one of his past treasures “Peace Out” contains much beauty as he does what Baker does best, entice the listener into his web as he dictates the mood. “Where Fallen Angels Dwell” is one of a handful, and easily the longest interlude that ties the ‘production’ together to ensure the players’ work is heard without distraction of voice. On the final track Baker offers up a foreboding and mystical title-track in “Land Of Doubt”. It sounds like something from of a cult-like movie depicting America’s troubled times of the 1930s, during the time of gangsters, exclusive gambling clubs and jazz. Is Land Of Doubt as good as his previous albums Mercy, Pretty World, Cotton or Say Grace? My early answer would be no, then again his albums often take a while to find their true level. I am tempted to say don't be too quick to judge. 

 

                                                            Maurice Hope  

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

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www.euroamericanachart.eu

1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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