Texas singer-songwriter Sam Baker is possessive of a singular voice, not just in the unique quality of his delivery– a sort of lean, half-spoken, slightly off-kilter drawl– but in his sparse, impressionistic poetic vision. With Land of Doubt, that vision is fully realized and wholly affecting. His talent as a writer has, over the years, drawn comparison to greats like Townes and Prine, but he also brings to mind, for me, favorites like Vic Chesnutt and Warren Zevon, if only because, like them (and Townes and Prine), his voice is so singular that he exists in a class all his own. (And I’d love to see him share a bill with Will Johnson. That show would fucking crush the audience.) He’s a true road poet, a troubadour, a lifer for the cause, who spins yarns of shadowed lives and spiritual yearning cast against austere arrangements, and the world he creates and the emotions he stirs with Land of Doubt resonate long after the last note rings out.
Land of Doubt is out now. Check it out at the Sam Baker website.