Sam Baker Plays Seattle April 9
Sam Baker might be the most captivating songwriter in America. Youll probably never catch yourself singing one of his songs in the shower, because his melodies generally tend to be as bare-bones serviceable as the raspy scratch of his singing; but by God, you listen to what he has to say, hanging on for every line like a baby bird at feeding time. Sometimes his words come out haltingly, one by one; others tumble out of his mouth in spurts of nursery rhyme cadence (copper penny for your thoughts/copper jacket full of lead/they wanted little Jimmy Cagney dead ...) By the time he sing-speaks them all, hes burned a black-and-white image or sometimes even a whole movie in your mind that lingers long after each song ends.
Some, like Juarez and Odessa from 2007's Pretty World, will haunt you for life. Bakers fourth album, Say Grace, adds several more masterpieces to that gallery, beginning with the title tracks poignant portrait of a woman weighing the ghosts of her past against the lonely onset of advancing age. In Migrants, he tells of 14 men who cross the border only to succumb to the elements of the brutal Sonora desert. Ay mijitos/they looked like dried leaves/scattered in the sun, Baker sings with a sadness underscored by Joel Guzmans keening accordion. They got 12 lines in a Midwestern paper/on the pages with the ads for shoes.
But theres true grace here, too, from the sweetly touching but unmawkish Isnt Love Great to the surprise sense of humor leavening the blue-collar angst of Ditch: My wife God bless her and for what its worth/thinks she and Taylor Swift/were twins at birth/separated at birth/Earth to wife/wife to earth! RICHARD SKANSE/Lone Star Music
If you are familiar with Sam Baker and his music, you know the story of his surviving a 1986 train bombing in Peru as discussed in his interview with Terry Gross on NPRs Fresh Air (copy and paste the following link into your browser): http://www.npr.org/2014/05/06/310089151/sam-baker-finding-grace-in-the-wake-of-destruction . She describes this 44-minute audio interview as her favorite of 2014. If you have the time, click and listen. Its a fascinating insight into the man, and how this incident has shaped his life and music.
This is a rare visit for Sam to Seattle. As engaging as his music is, his live shows are amazing treats, full of self-effacing humor, superior writing that uniquely describes experiences weve all had, and great, great acoustic Texas music. Veteran sideman, Chip Dolan, will be playing with Sam.
Visit Sam's website: Sam Baker
Tickets are $18 ($2 discount for members,students and seniors), $9 for youth. Day of show tickets at the door, if still available, will be $2 more (cash or check). Doors will open at 7 pm for a 7:30 start.
Phinney Neighborhood Center Concert Hall (Brick Building down the hill) (View)
6532 Phinney Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|