In 2004, Sam Baker played a few of his songs in a Texas Hill Country bar and afterwards handed a copy of his just finished CD Mercy to a local disk jockey. The DJ started spinning Mercy the next day and over the next three years it slowly, but surely, spun its way around the world. All by word of mouth. No record label, no publicity machine. Nothing but one listener handing the CD to another listener. Mercy is still traveling and still spinning.
One of six children, Sam Baker grew up in a small Texas town southwest of Dallas. His mother played hymns at a local church and his father played recordings of blues legends, interspersed with other musical genre, at home. “One of the first records I remember hearing is Johnny Cash’s Ride This Train,” Baker says. “Even more than the music, I remember the stories”
Baker’s truest talent may be his ability to tell stories. “I came back to writing songs after writing short fiction,” Baker says. “Storytelling is everything, at least to me.” His music celebrates equally the ugly and the exquisite, the mundane and the mysterious, giving us all a reason to take another look at ourselves and each other. Though laced with quiet lamentations, Baker’s music is anything but morose. He has a poetic genius so straightforward and undemanding it evokes wonder.
“The simplicity and beautiful melodies of his songs, musically, pull you in. But then... the words. As a lyricist, I'm blown away more every time I hear him. I keep listening closer and closer to his songs, and they just keep getting better and better. His stories are "packed" with depth and hard-hitting meaning. And Sam has a voice that tells you he's been "there" and back a few times, but he still believes in life enough to come back and tell us about it. There's just something about this guy. And, coming from someone who struggles with being jaded and cynical about so much of today's music, I'll be the first person there for this show.” says Nathan Brown, Winter Wind Committee member, poet, singer-songwriter, photographer and teacher.
Committee member Marie Soleil adds, “Sam Baker stands alone in his unique blend of personal stories, anecdotes, and musical musings. He is a story weaver, a songwriter who deftly creates an audio as well as a visual tale for the listener. Sam Baker is an entertainer not to be missed.”
Full season, six concert or individual concert tickets may be purchased at the Performing Arts Studio, located in the Norman Depot. Individual concert tickets may be also be purchased through OKC Tickets, a link to which is on the PAS web-site.
For more information, call The Performing Arts Studio at 405-307-9320. PAS office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm and on Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00. Sam Baker’s web-site is www.sambakermusic.com.
Winter Wind Concerts are made possible in part by grants from the Norman Chamber of Commerce Arts and Humanities Committee, Norman Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Sponsors are: Tom McAuliffe, Don Cies Real Estate; Mark and Teresa Marsee, Avante Skin Care; and Nancy McClellan. Additional support comes from Skye Diers, Gingerbread Nursery School; Becky Grider and Danna Primm.