I saw Sam Baker in January by chance. It was AmericanaFest UK. My friend and I wanted a drink and Sam happened to be next on in the bar we wandered into. I didn’t buy any of his music that night, but over the next few months I bought his entire back catalogue. His music became the music of my summer.
It’s so familiar, so beloved, so immediately and everlastingly catchy, that it’s easy to no longer notice just how weird it is. As is often the way, while seeking to do their most self-consciously experimental work, the band fashioned their finest moment of pure pop. Has any magnificent pop song been quite so eccentric; has anything quite so eccentric become so magnificent a pop song?
On his Freak Zone a few weeks ago, Stuart Maconie asked for recommendations of “alternative country records”. This got me thinking: what country records fall within the parameters of the Freak Zone? Then, by some YouTube algorithmical kismet, via a recommendation in an Alan Jacobs’ newsletter, I heard Abigail Washburn & Wu Fei. I’d found my first recommendation.