top of page

Win Win 

self portrait

Shady Grove and the Buddha

Bullet Speed

Slaughterhouse Prices


The Desert Big

Win Win

A Flash of Silver


Sam Baker

Produced by Rodney Crowell and Sam Baker

American gothic...- Bernie Taupin

...songs right up out of the ancient savaged earth.  Stunning spooky & very beautiful.-  Terry Allen

...a revelation - storytelling at its finest. With shades of the best of the beat poets... Mary Gauthier made my old dark worn out soul shiver as sam has created a beautiful dangerous new world as an artist with words that if you were to cut them, they would bleed.  Ray Wiley Hubbard

Press Release:  Win Win

Press Contact:

Elizabeth Freund
Beautiful Day Media & Management
Twitter @BeautifulDayPR

Win Win, a collection of story songs by Sam Baker and Rodney Crowell, 

is available for streaming today April 26, 2024

Apple Music / Spotify

Friday April 26, 2024 Nashville, TN — Win Win, a collaboration between Sam Baker and Rodney Crowell, is now available for streaming: Apple Music / Spotify. Win Win is a spellbinding collection of story songs and is Baker’s seventh album. It is released digitally today April 26, 2024 on RC1, Crowell’s label in partnership with Guy Clark LLC’s Truly Handmade Records distributed by The Orchard.


Win Win features 8 offerings - "Shady Grove and the Buddha", "Bullet Speed", "Slaughterhouse Prices", "Light", "The Desert Big", "Win Win", "A Flash of Silver" and "Waiting For You" - which comprise a vivid narrative that flows in dreamlike fragments, entrancing, sometimes jarring, and spiritually resonant –  revealing beauty not by obscuring or brushing over the darker aspects of life but by articulating them with exquisite clarity. 


This particular talent was hard won for Sam from personal experience. While traveling with friends in 1986 to Machu Picchu, Sam was on a train and a bomb went off killing seven people and permanently damaging his hearing. The recovery that followed - both physical and spiritual - forever shaped him as a human being and an artist. 


Rodney was aware of Sam’s work before they became friends. Over the last few years Sam shared some of his writings with Rodney, who was immediately inspired to help get these song stories out into the world and now we are all the beneficiaries of a soul well searched and articulated, evidenced by this record. 

"Rodney is so intuitive he heard this and knew immediatly the way forward," Sam said. "These are super long short story pieces and he was the one who understood how to present it. "


Rodney added, "the whole project from the begining with Sam has been about telling those stories, and having fun. I feel we are doing something worthwhile by getting these out there  - we both understand it is not radio or typical fare - but it's so exciting and gratifying to see the audiences that are drawn to it and appreciating it. " Rodney reflected.

"Fun is not said in a frivoulous way, Sam explained. "That is who we are. Practical and joyful. This world is a gritty place. I'm speaking to you now from a gas station on my way to the next show with Rodney.  On one side of me is oil stained concrete, and on the other side a Dairy Queen with MooLattè®. It's hard not to feel even a little joyful about a MooLattè®. That is who we are. Finding the joy in MooLattè® while standing on oil spilled concrete. " 


To celebrate the release the two have been performing a series of shows in Baker's home State of Texas. "We did our first show on Tuesday April 23rd and given our great expectations at a workable level it was a blazing success. Sam is so quick-witted and I'm nearly his match," Rodney said with a laugh. "We are doing 4 shows in all and they are all sold out - each one a great combination of his audience and mine. Every show - the spontaenous narratives, the set list - is unique and a real mix of our work. Sam is pulling from this incredible collection of songs in Win Win and I've been drawing from a collection of songs I've recently written and plan on releasing soon."


Sam concurred, "We just played our first show together on this run and it was so fun, it was alive. Rodney is breaking songs out and almost everything we are doing is new - 75-80% of every show.   Rodney is drawn to my pieces that are 6-7 minutes long. These story songs go on and on and it is so against the current where you hit the chorus fast. I have no chorus to hit, just these stories and with Rodney we can present them in a way that resonate and jangle loose within the listener the parts within them that are the same."   


Win Win is a perfect title and could stand in as a double entendre - as these recordings extract nuances from each of these artists which is accentuated by their association and collaboration.  


The video for "Win Win", released in March, is a visual collage of images that includes Baker's visual art which is as mysterious and compelling as the song, a Homespun Production that was filmed in Texas, Nashville and Montana. View it here.


For More Information Please Visit:




Media Contact:


Elizabeth Freund


Photo by Joshua Britt 


What the Press Have Said:


"Simultaneously beautiful and broken…Sam Baker is an artist worth waiting for" - NPR All Things Considered 

"The Bard of the Workaday World" - Wall Street Journal

"Maybe the most captivating songwriter in America." - Lone Star Music

"Sam Baker is an island of warmth and hope in dangerous times." - Neon Filler


"If you like your music with grit in its belly and a cast of characters to match any backstreet boozer, this might be the introduction you've been looking for." - T.Bebedor, Dancing About Architecture 


 "Singer-songwriter Crowell is always a mark of quality. This time out he joins forces with spoken word artist Baker to create musical settings for eight of his lyrical, introspective writings" - Gary Graff,


WIN WIN - Discussed 



Rodney and Sam recently sat down in Rodney’s studio to discuss the record and comments on each track can be found below.


Win Win: produced by Sam Baker and Rodney Crowell

Sam Baker: Keyboard, Programming, Guitar, Lead Voice

Rodney Crowell: Guitar, Percussion, Voice

Lex Price: Acoustic Bass

Catherine Marx: Piano, Organ

Chip Dolan:  Piano

Ashlie Wallace: Voice

Ashley Cleveland: Voice 


Shady Grove and the Buddha: 


RC: “I assume it was inspired by Doc Watson - and you turned it into a spoken poem that accesses all that great stuff from North Carolina but you segue into the Buddha!”


SB: “The whole thing is context - the chordal thing that doc does - chords that Doc does Shady Grove - colors the whole thing.


“One thing that really shapes my writing is not remembering nouns. I have to cycle through so many words to get to where I need to go. And through the cycling of those words, things come up.” 


RC “So to really having to work to find your nouns you're turning over rocks…and you find unexpected stuff.”


SB “Yes. Where the guy carved his tree on the Appalachian trail….. if you turn over enough rocks you're going to find the Buddha when the Buddha says ‘Lets go north let's go home.’ “


Bullet Speed: 

SB: “The story of the Hunter.  On the prairie that is a pure prairie - the hunting of the coyotes - you see so many of them killed and I’ve never been able to fully accept it…..killed by everybody cattlemen, farmers,  people that just like to kill things and they feel there is some need some goodness they perform by killing them. I don’t see that - I’ve never believed it  - I believe they are part of the great balance system.


(In this poem) at the end the coyote gnaws the wire from her hind feet  and stretches and once again turns north. So there’s two turns to the north in this (collection). “


RC: “One of the things that makes that narrative so successful is your attention to detail - the nuance of the shooter and the nuance of the coyote as it makes its way into the shot and then stops and turns back and heads north.” 


SB: “That is the fulcrum of the story.” 


Slaughterhouse Prices:

SB: “A story of drought. We had such a terrible drought when I was a kid - oh it was awful - 


RC: “That was the danpous drought of the 50’s I read about that” 


SB: “Drought is so all encompassing when the earth dries completely - when it is starved of water - it is so powerful. And the sun is relentless and the wind is like sandpaper it scrapes the land.” 


RC: “So the four elements earth wind fire and water…” 


SB: “And if you take one out - like water - those other three get so big” 


RC: “And the earth suffers without the water” 


SB: “I say suffer but that’s me projecting on the earth. I think the earth is agnostic.

I think when flood comes, the earth is flood, when drought comes, the earth is drought and the desert big.” 


RC: “That is very zen” 


Win Win: 

SB: “Rabbits - I mean how can you not write about rabbits? 


RC: “I’ve never tried, to be honest” 


SB: “To set it up - it is about rabbits - Really it is more about me….. I thought rabbits ran from hawks but they don’t, they stop - they get quiet and blend into the landscape. So we did that whole thing of rabbits blending in and then you turn over a noun rock and there is a memory about an article I read in Montana about an epipen that if you are chased by a bear if you shoot yourself w that you will pass out and the bear thinks you are dead and will not eat you - most of the time.  


But sometimes they do eat you. 


So - win win.” 


Flash of Silver: 

SB: “My friend Walt Wilkins Dad flew those phantom f4 jets in Vietnam and he looked up in the sky and saw a jet 30 feet up. It was cold and beautiful in mesquite country and it was winter and everything was gray it's almost like a black and white except the sky which is vivid blue and this jet - a flash of silver across the sky - and he looks up and he says “I wish I were up there” 


So we combine that narrative with keyboards - ‘some glad morning’ - an old gospel song. You get this underlayment and the sky is blue bisected by this almost metallic flash of light and then we have ‘I’ll fly away’ underneath it then Ashley comes in and sings it.” 


Light & Waiting For You:

RC: “So there are two pieces in the collection where you sing and they're both really pretty, very simple and beautiful things. I remember when we were first talking about it and you said you are not really a singer - but you are.” 


SB: “For so long I sang as if I couldn’t hear. I would sing a lot higher and louder. And I can’t hold a pitch. But what I have done in the last year is drop keys on everything and I am now singing - and it’s kind of fun. I don’t count on listening to it - I count on feeling it. I can feel the pitch.”


About Sam Baker:
Sam Baker is a lyric writer, artist, and survivor. His songs are stories of everyday people facing everyday challenges: a young Mennonite welder who finds love, a ditch digger supporting his family, a veteran grappling with post-war life, a single mother driving around with a car full of baby junk, a widower writing ‘her’ name in the sand, and a straight-haired orphan in a house full of curls. They are survivors. Like Sam. 


In 1986 Sam was on a train for Machu Picchu when a bomb exploded in the carriage he was riding in. Seven died. Through a series of miracles, and the help of everyday people doing their best--his angels--he survived. 


Physical recovery was hard.  Emotional recovery harder. Melody came to him--compelled him to turn an old guitar upside down so his gnarled hands could play. Slowly, the words came--one true line--“Sitting on the train to Machu Picchu, the passenger car explodes.”  He made a record. Then another. There were glowing reviews, more records, awards in Rolling Stone; sold-out shows in Europe, Canada, and the US; songs in TV shows; and an hour with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. Sam was a singer. 


Sam uses his art to tell his story--whether from a symphony in Oregon, an art gallery in Santa Fe, a large theater in Kansas City, a small room in The Netherlands, or a song-writer retreat with soldiers. He travels the world sharing his songs, grateful for each day, helping us see the beauty in little things and hope for things to come. 


About Rodney Crowell: 

Rodney Crowell is the songwriter’s songwriter and an icon among giants. Native Texan, Crowell is a multi-Grammy Award-winning troubadour with fifteen number one hits. Over the course of his career, Crowell has gracefully blended his own mainstream success as an artist with a prolific catalog of songs cut by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Keith Urban and more, making him a master among his peers.

With more than 40 years of American roots music under his belt, Crowell has also been cited as the architect of Americana music, extending his genre reach, but owing to the distinctly universal, literary quality of his writing, he has also penned beloved songs for artists as diverse as Bob Seger, Etta James, the Grateful Dead, John Denver, Jimmy Buffett and countless others.

A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Crowell is also the author of the acclaimed memoir, Chinaberry Sidewalks, and teamed up with New York Times best-selling author Mary Karr for Kin: Songs by Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell in 2012, with Karr saying of her collaborator, “Like Hank Williams or Townes Van Zandt or Miss Lucinda, he writes and croons with a poet’s economy and a well digger’s deep heart.” Crowell was honored with ASCAP’s prestigious Founder’s Award in 2017, and that same year released the album Close Ties, which spawned another Grammy nomination for “It Ain’t Over Yet” with Rosanne Cash and John Paul White in the category of Best Americana Song. 2019’s Texas was a collection of Lone Star-centric collaborations with Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Ronnie Dunn, Steve Earle and more, and Crowell’s most recent album release is the 2021 set, Triage.


Crowell came up in Nashville’s songwriting heyday alongside Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Steve Earle and has continued that legacy of camaraderie and kinship with his peers well into the iconic era of his career. As many say – “your favorite song was probably written by Rodney Crowell.”


Crowell has four daughters and lives with his wife and dog in Tennessee. He writes every day and loves tending to his garden.


About Truly Handmade Records:

Truly Handmade Records is a division of Guy Clark LLC. The LLC was formed by Guy’s grandchildren to amplify and honor the legacy, cultivate and manage the intellectual property of Guy and Susanna Clark, and to support songwriters who live in the spirit of Guy Clark. Guy Clark LLC is managed by a board of directors, which includes Guy’s grandson Dylan Clark, longtime friends Rodney Crowell and Verlon Thompson, record label executive Scott Robinson, and biographer and producer Tamara Saviano. Saviano is the president and creative manager of Guy Clark, LLC and Truly Handmade Records.


Elizabeth Freund
Beautiful Day Media & Management
Twitter @BeautifulDayPR

Win Win" video HERE
bottom of page