After a break that allowed him the time to paint, Sam Baker is back with his first album following The Mercy Trilogy, his first three albums and you are immediately back in an intimate place with just you and Baker. His voice is totally recognizable rarely raising itself above that of a poetic recitation which makes you listen to what it says. You're not going to be distracted by any vocal acrobatics that's for sure! It's the words, the voice and some very subtle playing. Piano and acoustic guitar are the key instruments and with some laid back percussion, accordion, cello and some barbed guitar for dynamics along with some vocal accompaniment. All of which give the songs their context, their continuity and their colour.
Baker's fourteen news songs will please his many fans, but will do little to sway those who don't quite get his voice. The human voice is a wonderful instrument and the subtlest inflection can speak volumes, but we tend to live in a world where the voice is expected to be a high flying trapeze act, there only to amaze with it's showmanship. Baker’s voice is one that uses words well, words that are chosen for their place in the song, which are thought through and convey a story that is full of humanity and grace.
Like life, Baker has said that this album is "the same but different". There are still the same emotions of anger and beauty, humour and humanity. Though the songs are more about people who have little in the way of material wealth, that wealth proves to be spiritual and simple. They convey too the times when the darkest hour comes before the dawn but in Baker's world you learn that despite events in his life that could easily have turned him bitter and resentful, he has instead taught himself to be grateful for every breath. If you understand that, then you will appreciate Say Grace's understated and singular artistry.