It was thirteen years ago now when Sam Baker brought out his debut album and that initial release rapidly garnered him a myriad of fans from across the globe. This fanbase has continued to grow steadily with time and this year will see him expand it ever further with the release of his latest masterpiece Land of Doubt.
Land of Doubt is a stunningly minimalistic and stripped-back blue and country album that has taken elements from each and abandoned the others on the way. As the album begins it can seem as though walls of sound are falling all around you, though that’s not to say that Baker’s music is loud – in fact it is quite the opposite. Baker’s sparse nature means that every available chord is singled out and enhanced as it is born into the world. This minimalist scheme means that every chord is accounted for and you can’t help but focus on the fluttering violins and the grave brass that surround his words. Hauntingly mesmerising piano tunes tinkle gently through his work with a sombre nature while terse guitar tunes are carefully constructed like skyscrapers. Each of Baker’s songs are slow and steady but they are songs that expand with each and every note until they end up as something unique and exciting.
Baker’s voice is steeped heavily in emotion as he brings his tales to life with songs like Same Kind of Blue; tense and deeply poetic examinations of war, life, love and death are rife within his work. Baker himself seems unafraid to step foot where other artists might not even tread. What really brings his music to life however is his heavy and powerful voice. It is empowering, guttural and rough around the edges. This unique gravelly style of blues is shared with the likes of Tom Waits and much like Waits there is a heavy reliance on the depth and sincerity of his words that reach out to you like a whisper in the night. This poetic note within his work is beautiful as Baker takes his time unloading the contents of his mind and creates some incredible and soul rending songs.
Evocative, emotional and eerily calming, Land of Doubt is a charmingly crafted collection of songs that can soothe and astound you in equal measure. Baker’s rich and charismatic voice rings out like a bell while gentle blues and country tunes flutter together in the background. It’s a charming and calming album that nobody should be without.
Watch the video Peace Out taken from the new album
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Review by Joe Knipe