In 1986 a time bomb went off in a train killing 7 people and wounding at least 38 – New York Times. Among those 38 wounded, was Sam Baker. It took years to heal and reconnect. It wasn’t easy, but it had an amazing effect on Sam, opening him to new art, poetry, and the start of his music career.
Sam was born in Itasca, TX in 1954 and played varsity football at Itasca High School. Sam was headed to South America with friends on a trip to explore the area. In an interview with Terri Gross on NPR, Sam recalls sitting next to a German family and speaking with their young son. Sam looked back and next thing he knows, the bomb goes off, killing the family and badly damaging himself. With a severed artery, a brain injury, and hearing loss, he required more than 15 reconstructive surgeries.
I went through so many surgeries, and I was around so many people who were in such terrible pain and in worse shape than I was. Yeah, something changed. One thing that changed was the sense that all suffering is universal. That we suffer, you suffer, that we all do … me, especially what I learned was empathy, and the faith that I got was the faith in us as a group, as humans.
– Sam Baker on how the bombing changed him in an interview with Terri Gross, on NPR.
It’s while Sam was recovering that his music just came to him. Many of the songs on his album, Say Grace, are directly from the attack and near-death experience, while other are like short stories that have been written in the voice of made up characters. Sam’s music contains a blend of Folk & Blues, some with beautiful Gospel tones, delivering a unique sound to gratitude, empathy, and life. Always beautifully chosen, and fully wrought. Words placed like plants and objects in a Zen Garden.
KCUR’s Cyprus Avenue Live! at the Folly Theater: An Evening with Sam Baker will be on October 13th at 8 PM, where Sam will be performing music from his newest album, Land of Doubt released on June 21st, 2017.
You can learn more about Sam at www.SamBakerMusic.com