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Interview: Austin Songwriter and Survivor Sam Baker

Chrislyn Lawrence

Almost 30 years ago, Sam Baker was traveling on a train in Peru when a terrorist bomb exploded, nearly killing him. After countless surgeries and years of therapy, Baker worked out not only what it means to survive, but to thrive.

He describes his new album, “Say Grace,” as part of an ongoing healing process.

The explosion on that train to Machu Picchu killed the family sitting just inches away from him. Baker himself was left with several injuries including a cut artery.

“If you get a cut artery at 10,000 feet in South America, you probably should die,” Baker says. “For a long time I was so bitter and angry about everything I lost. It took time, and then at some point I shifted, into a place where I was grateful for what I had left and not bitter about what was gone.”

“For the most part I’ve accepted the world is a place of great beauty and great tragedy, and we all get our share of each.”

While Baker describes his fourth album as part of his ongoing healing process, all of the songs aren’t the same. His music has been described as “deceptively simple,” which he takes as a compliment.

“I try to take stuff out, try to get things down to what is essential. Edit down to a point that if I take one more thing out, the frame begins to fall.”

Listen to KUT’s interview with Baker in the Soundcloud player above.

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
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