Say Grace was one of the most anticipated records of the year at my house. Ever since the first time I heard a cut from one of Sam’s records I have been hooked. Say Grace arrived at my door a couple of weeks ago and has found it’s way into my speakers just about every day since.
The thing about Sam’s music that really gets me is the simplicity in all of the songs. When I say simple I do mean that they do have a sense of depth, but rather the opposite. Baker is never overly wordy, but his words seem to be chosen perfectly at all times. His delivery matches the writing style with every line given to the listener with a purpose.
Say Grace falls in line with Baker’s previous three records as far as production and the backing musicians. Baker invited some new and familiar names to play and sing on the record including, Gurf Morlix, Anthony De Costa, Lloyd Maines, and Carrie Elkin among others. The musicians managed to ensure that the songs are accented without being overly muddy with instrumentation.
Baker does an unparalleled job of crawling inside the characters of his songs and writing their stories from their perspective. The man in “Ditch” has found himself in the middle of a life that he never wanted, but one that he has learned to accept and fine tiny slices of humor in. Sam captures those emotions and delivers them in the voice of a man trapped by his own decisions.
“Isn’t Love Great” tells the story of a couple who has been together so long that their faults have become topics of affection between them. Ending the record is the minute and a half masterpiece, “Go In Peace”. The perfect way to end an album that has run the emotional gamut, sounds like a wise preacher singing to his congregation as they file out after a trying Sunday service.
There are not many songwriters working today that I respect as much as Sam Baker and this release will slide in perfectly next to his others among my favorite albums. The shame with Baker is that he did not release album until after his 50th birthday, so we may not get a lot of records from him so we need to hold each one dear and Say Grace is no exception.
Order a copy of the album and learn more about Sam Baker on his website here.
Here is a video for the title song off the album: