Sam Baker – Horses and Stars

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4 Stars

Sam Baker’s story has often been told, a terrorist attack survivor, a lone troubadour and a passionate storyteller with a difference. Singer songwriters often have the luxury of inhabiting fictional characters in their songs whilst also eloquently telling the truth about themselves at the same time. Sam’s songs tell us that his own reality has come at great personal cost, some of which is reflected here in a sparse and clutter free setting. For Sam’s first live album, those life experiences come to us in a most direct manner, before an almost silent audience. Though it sounds pretty much an empty space judging by the sparse applause, there is still much electricity evident in the room, this particular room being the Event Center in Buffalo, New York. Recorded back in July 2018, the songs were never intended for release, being just another in a series of recordings made for the sole purpose of listening back, just to see how it went. The dozen songs are familiar and delivered with passion, a lone voice accompanied by an electric guitar, a bit of harmonica and the occasional percussive stomp. In a way, Horses and Stars just might be a good starting place for those not yet touched by this unique performer’s songs, such as “Broken Fingers”, “Angel Hair” and “Same Kind of Blue.”

Choice Track: “Broken Fingers” (NSV 484)