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Sam Baker - Land of Doubt (Self Release)

Texan singer-songwriter Sam Baker seems to have taken his time with this, his fifth album, once again engaging his audience with a selection of highly distinctive songs from the heart. The first thing we notice is Sam's particularly mannered singing style, where he inserts spaces between each word, which probably speaks volumes for the art of his own songwriting, in that each word, each syllable, is very much pronounced, possibly because each word very much counts. The jagged drawl continues throughout each song in an almost hesitant manner, ensuring each verse is delivered clearly and concisely.

The survivor of a 1986 terrorist attack in Peru, Baker's determination to tell his stories as a highly thoughtful singer-songwriter continues to develop with five albums now under his belt together with a steadily growing and loyal audience. The four musical interludes here serve to create a certain mood prior to some of the album's best songs Margaret, The Feast of Saint Valentine, Peace Out and the closing title song. Whilst Same Kind of Blue investigates the story of a quiet unassuming soldier sent out to war in South East Asia with the unfortunate name of Charlie, the collective name of the enemy, Leave is a heartbreaking confrontation with lost love. We sense from these songs a life very much lived and love very much lost and occasionally in a minor key.   

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky