Sam Baker’s ‘Slots’ is your Folk Alliance International Song of the Day


The International Folk Alliance Conference & Winter Music Camp comes to KC February 19-23. To get you geared up for the folk blowout, every day we’re posting a song we like by one of the event’s showcase artists.

To understand the significance of Sam Baker’s music, you need to know how it started. In 1986, when Baker was 32, he was caught in a terrorist attack while traveling in Peru. A dozen people around Baker were killed, and Baker himself survived with severe injuries: mangled limbs, partial deafness, brain damage. Multiple surgeries were required to repair Baker’s body. He had to relearn the guitar because he could no longer play with his right hand. 

At 55, Baker’s playing is not the smoothest. His voice is cracked and rough, and his melodies are rugged things that seem like wild-picked flowers, gathered haphazardly and twisted into a song. That said, Baker is one of folk music’s finest songwriters today (the phrase “wordsmith” is frequently used to describe him). His stories are different – sometimes dismal, influenced by the bomb in Peru – and utterly time-stopping. 

For more information on the FAI and the upcoming conference, go here

See also:

#23: John Fullbright’s “Gawd Above”
#22: Grant Lee Phillips’ “Walking in the Green Corn”
#21: The Carper Family’s “Foolish Ramblin’ Man”
#20: The Black Lillies’ “The Fall”
#19: Ganstagrass’ “Long Hard Times to Come”
#18: Chuck Mead’s “Girl on the Billboard”
#17: Jordie Lane’s “Feet Fall”
#16: The Howlin’ Brothers “Big Fall” 

#15: Jadea Kelly’s “Lone Wolf”
#14: The Sweet Lowdown’s “Red Shift Blues”
#13: The Stray Birds’ “Time in Squares”
#12: SHEL’s “Lost at Sea” 
#11: Uncle Bonsai’s “Penis Envy”
#10: Miss Tess’ “People Don’t Come Here for Gold”
#9: Baskery’s “The NoNo”

#8: The Farewell Drifters’ “Modern Age” 
#7: Willie Watson’s “Keep It Clean”
#6: Buffalo Tales’ “Puppet Strings”

Categories: Music