Baker half sings and half talks and plays gentle electric guitar, but his songs tell a powerful story of normal folk and it has a real power. ” - The Chronicle Series

Sam Baker, performing Nov. 12 at the Bill and Dottie Miller Theater

Olive Street Presents welcomes the Sam Baker trio to the Bill and Dottie Miller Theater at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on the PSU campus.

In 1986, Sam was traveling by train to Machu Picchu in Peru when a bomb placed on a luggage rack above his head by the Shining Path guerrilla group exploded, killing seven other passengers including the three people who had been sitting with him.

Sam was left with numerous injuries, including brain damage, a cut artery, and blown-in eardrums. He survived 17 reconstructive surgeries and has a constant case of tinnitus. The fingers of his left hand were left gnarled.

During years of physical and emotional recovery, Sam re-taught himself to play his guitar left-handed. In a radio interview in 2020, Baker said his brain injury affected his use of language and he struggled to remember nouns. Writing helped him relearn. At the same time he was influenced by the music of Lightning Hopkins and his writing became songwriting as he discovered melody. 

Sam Baker's music has been compared to that of John Prine. Baker's 2013 album, Say Grace, was listed by Rolling Stone as one of the top 10 country music albums of 2013.