Lyric songwriter and artist Sam Baker writes songs about the extraordinary challenges faced by everyday people. And Baker faced many of his own before turning to a career in music. In 1986, traveling by train to Machu Picchu in Peru, a bomb exploded in the car he was in. Seven people died. Baker, inspired by a new lease on life, learned to pluck the newly formed melodies in his head on a right-handed guitar turned around so he could play it left handed (the only way he could play it, post incident, because of his gnarled hands).

Baker is also a figurative painter whose compositions are poised between representation and abstraction. A solo exhibition of Baker’s art opens at Worrell Gallery (103 Washington Ave., 505-989-4900, on Aug. 5 (ongoing), in conjunction with a live performance by the Sam Baker Trio at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. Baker is joined by violinist and music producer Tim Lorsch and singer Ashlie Wallace. Tickets are $20-$25; available at

Jean Cocteau Cinema, 418 Montezuma Ave., 505-466-5528,

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