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Sam Baker Brings Authentic Concert to Norman
By Tourism Industry Partner
Contact: Rick Fry
NORMAN - Sam Baker - singer, songwriter, artist, architect, carpenter - feels life vividly and intensely, and he throws himself open to receive as much of it as he can bear. The man is fiercely and finely attuned. So, too, is his music. Baker will be in concert at Norman's Historic Santa Fe Depot, 200 South Jones Avenue, on Sunday, November 7. The concert is part of the Performing Arts Studio Winter Wind Concert Series beginning at 7 p.m. The tickets are $20 and advanced purchase is recommended through PAS or ticketstorm.com.
Baker’s albums flicker with immediacy and electricity. They are spare, naked, poetic, downright arresting in their lyrical and musical intimacy. His debut “Mercy” – self released in 2004, is the first album of a three-record trilogy of delicate, devastating story songs backed by steel guitar, octave violin and cello that ripple with trauma and transcendence. Baker’s music is music that will compel you to sit down and feel.
“Sam Baker is, without a doubt, one of my favorite songwriters writing today,' says Nathan Brown, successful poet, singer/songwriter and OU professor. 'His powerful lyrics punch through the noise of the contemporary music scene with the skill of a master-storyteller. And these painfully beautiful stories clearly come from someone who has “been there,” barely survived, and come back to tell us about it. Sam is a great spirit with a big heart whose songs will touch you, if not shake your core. Do not miss this one!”
Personal tragedy resonates in Baker's songs. The singer lived through a near death experience while traveling through Peru in 1986. While boarded on a four-car train to Machu Picchu, Baker began chatting with a family of German tourists when the passenger car exploded as it sat in the station. A terrorist had placed a bomb in a red backpack that was sitting right above Baker’s head in a storage compartment. The bomb blew off the top of his shoulder, maimed his arms and hands, bruised his brain, and severed the femoral artery in his left leg.
An inward journey to recovery led Baker into reflection, deeper into art. He began writing as a form of therapy. He also took up photography. Art allowed him to let his spirit wander when his body could not tolerate physical endeavors.
For a while, Baker believed that his music was just a mere delight for him. He knew his singing voice lacked range from being deaf in his left ear from the bomb blast. Also, playing the guitar was a new task having his left hand so badly shattered that he had teach himself how to fret with his right hand.
However in 2002, Baker played his first open-mic night and began to accept that the authenticity of the song was more important than the range of his voice.
Eighteen years after the devastating train bombing, Sam Baker released his first album. “Mercy” is an album about fate and about the sensation of being “blown away.” The characters in Baker’s songs are in turn blown away by loss, love, fate, and by a looming war.
After the success of “Mercy,” Baker released two more albums similar in tone and instrumentation. All together the three albums compromised a reflective trilogy.
PAS office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 8 am to 2 pm. Winter Wind Concerts are made possible by grants from the Norman Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the generous support of many local businesses, organizations and individuals.
For more information about Winter Wind or other PAS programs, visit http://thepas.org or call 307-9320.