Sam Baker makes people happy. The characters in his songs face many challenges—alcoholism, car wrecks, racism, drug addiction, a mother’s abandonment—but they persevere. Much like Sam himself.
In 1986 Sam got in the middle of someone else’s war. When a terrorist bomb exploded in the his train compartment, he went from being a young, healthy, tourist enjoying Peru with friends to a broken man surrounded by death and dying. Given his injuries, he too should have died. But through a series of miracles and coincidences he survived.
There were lots of surgeries, and the requisite pain pills. His leg was saved by a successful femoral arterial graft. When the cranial bleed in his brain healed, he had to relearn nouns, and after his right eardrum was replaced, he regained some hearing. With the top of his left hand gone, it seemed that his formerly skillful hands had been transformed into blocks of wood, but eventually those hands learned how to play an upside-down guitar.
Physically, Sam was recovering, but his life was filled with pills, booze, and rage. Then came the voices and messengers that helped him see that the greatest gift is life itself. He learned about forgiveness. He needed to tell his story. Songs started to come from that upside-down guitar. Before he knew it, there were CDs, tours around the world, an interview with Terry Gross, and awards in Rolling Stone.
Sam feels compelled to tell his story—through his music, art, or any means possible—to one person at a time, or to thousands from a festival stage.