This is the fifth album from yet another Texas singer songwriter recorded in Nashville with producer Nelson Hubbard.
The fifteen songs comprise five brief instrumental interludes and ten vocal numbers which include sparse backing from Don Mitchell on trumpet and Will Kimbough on "sustained guitar textures".
Baker's perspective on the world is dominated by a near death experience while with friends in Peru in 1986 when he miraculously survived a bomb planted on a train by local rebels. Those he was traveling with died and the attack left him deaf in one ear and loud ringing in the other. As a result, he admits "I'm not sure I get much out of music" but the drive to create remains.
Given this background, it's no surprise that his songs are sombre and sensitive rather than brash or bold. His precise enunciation makes every word count giving his songs an intensity and fragility reminiscent of John Cale.
"I wanted a cinematic feel, a mixture of scarcity and tension", Baker wrote for the Kickstarter campaign launched to ensure the backing musicians could get paid.
Baker switches between acoustic and electric guitar and sings about Vietnam vets, single moms, happy/sad lovers and drought in the Southwest.
It's not a record with obvious standout tracks but it's an elegant and expertly sequenced album which demands your close attention and is best listened to uninterrupted from start to finish.
Sam Baker's website