Pretty World Sam­bak­er­mu­

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews - JOE BREEN

This is a re­mark­able album. It is the work of a sur­vivor, some­one who came so close to death that grasp­ing ev­ery frag­ment of life is ev­ery­thing. As he says on his web­site, “all we’ve got is this one breath. And then, if we’re lucky, we have the next breath.” He should know. Sam Baker was a Texan col­lege grad­u­ate trav­el­ling the world when he was caught up in a train bomb blast in Peru in 1986. Now 53, two years ago he re­leased his first album, and now comes Pretty World. There are lots of in­flu­ences, not least the gritty po­etic voice of Guy Clark and the sto­ries of Ray­mond Carver and Richard Ford. Baker picks from all to cre­ate some­thing that buzzes with truth and hon­esty framed by alt.coun­try melodies, ar­range­ments of earthy el­e­gance and a voice of grav­elly grace. Hear him at the forth­com­ing Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots Fes­ti­val. www.sam­bak­er­mu­ Down­load tracks: Sweetly Un­done, Bro­ken Fin­gers, Pretty World

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