Austin’s Sam Baker may just have written most painful song of the year. A song that asks, “What would make a person leave and not come back? Not a day goes by when I don’t think about you.” Every time I hear “Angel Hair” it breaks me in two. You should go buy “Cotton” just to support a singer-songwriter who could create a song full of such profound beauty.
But there’s more than just one great song here. You also get a nifty little reworking of the old classic, “Dixie,” the rousing title track, and a handful of songs full of characters and concepts that are so well drawn they sound like a country version of Tom Waits’ diary.
This, the third album of a trilogy, is easily one of the best records of the year. Every note, every lyrical line, every well-placed background singer, is placed with precision, like a hand-crafted sculpture. Baker’s vocal style is understated, like Bill Callahan, but he knows just when to bring in the gospel to fill in where he cannot, like on the title track. I don’t think I’ve made this statement before: This is a perfect record.