Sam Baker – Land Of Doubt


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.

This is an artist with much storytelling to do as a songwriter, and it seems there is no end to what he can tell from his life’s perspective. Some of it comes out on this album with no question, but it has a lot to offer musically speaking too. But you don’t get this impression right away, as it takes getting beyond the first track “Summer Wind” but make sure to get back to it, because it’s actually-a great piece once you’ve heard the rest of the album. “Some Kind Of Blue” is where you instantly get right into Sam Baker’s songwriting and playing prowess. So, it all starts to get interesting pretty-swiftly either way.

Make no mistake about it, he still has a good ear for his music, and he wrote a great song here, delivered with everything he’s got. Survival is key and this track seems to help close some personal doors, or at least it appears that way. “The Silvered Moon” is an instrumental with the piano getting a work-out, which goes into “Margaret” with a song about living on the red and blues sides of a certain woman. It goes well with the following two tracks, “Love Is Patient” and the lesser but not least “Leave” which make sort of a trifecta of tunes together. They’re a few steps worth taking to get to the rest. With each offering a little something to enjoy about them.

“The Feast Of Saint Valentine” is one of the biggest tracks, with more going for it than most, without getting away from the thread of content, being lighthearted for the most part. He tells a story well and this is no exception to that rule. You really feel his passion on this track, as it intensifies throughout. And the same thing happens with “Moses In the Reeds” with a little humor thrown in for good measure. It’s good to hear some sense of humor, if even about a pretty-concerning socio-political subject. I was reminded of an old song by Jim Croce when I first heard this. And I love the how the guitar solo is done. It’s one of the better tracks on the album and certainly one of my favorites.

“Say The Right Words” takes some getting used to, just as the opening track does, but once you come around, it’s all good. This just takes the more musically traveled path with the saxophone solo making it really shine for all it’s worth. “The Sunken City Of Roses” is a string instrumental that is par excellent in every way. The only thing it needs is more minutes attached to it. “Peace Out” is a very cool sentimental song that hangs in there with the best of the album. If you go with the flow you’ll get to “Where Fallen Angels Dwell” and find another gem waiting for you, as-long as Sam Baker is up your alley by now. And that will lead you to the “Land Of Doubt” which is what it’s really all about.


Elvin Graham