Tag Archives: Sam baker

Sam Baker Live



One of my earliest posts from last year was about seeing Sam Baker live in Gateshead, and there has been at least one since then, about the new album, Say Grace. Sam tends to do an annual short UK tour, and I try to look out for him. He’s invited to the North East by the jumpin’ hot club, based in the area.

The gig was actually a week ago yesterday, but I may have been hungover the next day like to take some time to think about things before I write about them sometimes. Due to some technical issues with the camera I got for my birthday (we don’t know how to use it) I haven’t got many pictures. Ones taken on my phone just show very shiny people on stage, because of the lighting.

Any, it was a brilliant gig. I drank too much because I was trying not to drink too much in front of someone who was with us. I decided alcohol might help with the social awkwardness, and well, I probably don’t need to tell you how that worked out! Anyway, it was a great gig, Sam was fantastic (as usual) and hung around at the end to meet people (and sign my copy of Say Grace – yes, I finally got a ‘real’ CD to go with my digital download).

The set list was (roughly): Cotton, Say Grace, the tattooed woman, road crew, white heat, ditch, interlude, isn’t love great, sweet hour of prayer (Carrie Elkin and Rebecca Kemp singing), (intermission), change (in a wonderful blues style, see clip below, as i can’t describe it well enough), introduction to feast, feast, panhandle winter (sam described the ‘meet me in Saint Louis’ line as his equivalent to ‘I’ll meet you in the field, where we won’t argue/I won’t hit you with a stick) , migrants, buttons by button, odessa, iron (complete with tour manager Rebecca Kemp singing, and a description of the song as about ‘codependancy, alcoholism, a car wreck, and betrayal’) , waves, palestine (Sam described this as about a logging accident, caused by cheap chains made of bad steel) , go in peace, truale and pretty world (the last few were audience requests).

Basically, the night involved some brilliant music interspersed with Sam’s wit and brilliant storytelling abilities. We (those of who’ve seen him a few times) think that the gig’s are always advertised as ‘an evening with Sam Baker’ because of his ability to tell the stories that inspired each song, and a few others too. In fact, I think the first time I saw him live, he talked more than he sang – not that anyone complained! RIght, starting to ramble now..

Suffice to say, Sam was brilliant, as ever. If he’s ever playing near you, I recommend you go, if you’ve never heard of him, download an album from itunes, or buy one online, or even in an actual record shop if they still have those where you are.


I’ll end with this…





Music: Sam Baker, Say Grace

Anyone who read this blog before crochet landed on it will probably have read something about music. You may even have seen my drunken rambling a after the last Sam Baker concert I went to. (My excuse for drunken ramblings is that I don’t get to drink a lot these days).

Anyway, recently, Sam announced he’d be using kick starter to fund the distribution of his new album, ‘Say Grace’. I learnt how to use kick starter (surprisingly easy), put in my $7 and got my digital download a little while later. For the record, the project made over twice it’s target amount, and if I’d had more money, I’d have given it. There were signed CDs and prints on offer also, but I gotta feed my babies!

In the car yesterday morning, I was telling my husband about a news story I’d read online. It was about the heat wave in the US, and mentioned (in one sentence) how 7 migrants had died in the last month, whilst attempting to enter the US. I played him ‘migrants’, Sam’s song about 14 men found dead, who got 12 lines of news print telling people about their deaths. My husband remembered the song (and story) from seeing Sam live once. He said ‘I remember, he told us that story’. His comment started me thinking about why I like Sam’s albums.

And what I like about Say Grace (and the other albums). Is Sam’s ability to tell a story in a song, combined with beautiful and sometimes haunting tunes that stay with you, and make you empathise with the people/characters they are about. I’ve never been anywhere in the US other than Florida (my bad, and when babies are grown, I will), but you get a real sense of where places you’ve never been from listening.

It’s like the guy (I forget his name) who took photos, someone borrowed his camera and broke it, and gave him a pen in return. Now, instead of taking pictures, he writes them.

(I’m having a rambling day, it’s not unusual).

Anyway, I listened to all 4 albums together, and decided to email a little note saying ‘well done’ to an email address I had from a mailing list, I said I was listening to all of the albums in order, because I like the stories they told, and wanted to hear how ‘Say Grace’ fit it. I was surprised to get a reply from Sam himself…

Sam said:

“Thank you. I have never listened to all four in order. I will try that. Thank u for the idea

When I do a re release I will prob put it out as

Pretty world

And then Of course say grace

I want mercy to start the trilogy and end with that lovely version of pretty world with the complex cotton in the middle.”

So that’s now the recommended listening order!

Anyway… Say Grace is another great album, and my recommendation for today is, if you’ve never heard a Sam Baker song, download one and listen to it. The older albums are on iTunes, and if you can’t afford an album, a song is 79p – that’s gotta be worth a shot!

As for me, I’m working on tickets for the next tour. It’s my birthday this month, so I can hope!

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this..

“Go in peace
Go in kindness
Go in love
Go in faith
Leave the day, the day behind us,
The day is done
Go in grace
Let us go
Into the dark
Not afraid, not alone
Let us hope
By some good pleasure
Safely to, arrive at home
Let us hope
By some good pleasure
Safely to, arrive at home”
Sam Baker


A musical interlude

While we seek mirth and beauty
And music light and gay
There are frail forms
Fainting at the door
Though their voices are silent
Their pleading looks will say
“Oh, hard times come again no more”
-Stephen Foster 1854

Also introduction to Sam Baker’s ‘Odessa’ too. I’m continually surprised by how much of the music I like is inspired/based on/partly contains old folk music or poetry. Although is this case, it’s more like ‘parlour music’ written to remind rich people what it’s like for everyone else.

You don’t see much stuff like this nowadays, do you? Or maybe you do, and I’m missing it.

Anyways… I like it. Good night folks.

Sam Baker, part two(ish)

So, the other day I mentioned that I was listening to Sam Baker, and linked to his website. Because I’m lazy I loaded it to copy and paste the URL. Which is a good thing, because that’s how I found out he was playing in Gateshead on Thursday. So, a few texts between family members and bribing of babysitters later, I got to play out on a week night.

If you’ve never heard of Sam, listen to his album ‘Mercy’, there’s debate in my family as to which album is best, but I would say to start at the beginning. And it’s my favourite too.

We ended up running late (co ordinating travelling from three different places is complicated). So, I wasn’t very organised. Nothing new there though! I’d never been to Gateshead Town Hall before, and it was surprisingly big. They had a very nice piano too.


I like Sam’s music because he sings about real things, stories and his own experiences. He has fantastic banter between songs, and shares his stories with the audience, making you understand where the songs came from. His songs express emotion and his lyrics are uncomplicated and forthright. And well, kinda beautiful, I think.

Anyway, I’m rambling again.. For those of you familiar with Sam, the second set songs were: say the right words, angel hair, Palestine, cotton, iron (with tour manager Rebecca Kemp singing too), waves, Odessa, a new song (yay!), with boxes and snow as requests.

There’s a new album at some point too. Which is great. And hopefully another tour next year? We’ll be more prepared next time. Two years ago we saw him in a place called Chorley. It was a road trip for us, and despite the car going nuts on the way home (we ended up parked outside a house on a country lane, while the car randomly locked and unlocked the doors and boot, sounded the alarm and turned the wipers on and off, only to behave perfectly when a mechanic arrived. After unlocking the boot while we were on a motorway), it was a really good trip and we’d all like to do it again.

So, I’ll end by misquoting (probably):
Go in peace, go in kindness, go in love, go in faith…