with Josh Ritter & Doug Burr
February 28, 2011
“Her voice is gorgeously odd — all fulsome, shape-shifting vowels that do indeed billow like fog. But while her moody country rock is full of dark themes, she rarely gives in to them: her band plays with jaunty sweetness, shuffling and bouncing through sorghum-sticky melodies.” – Rolling Stone
Anais Nin said, “Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.” That suggestion is the muse impelling the conception of Samantha Crain’s second LP, You (Understood). Each song on this album rests on a juncture with a person, a real person, and it recounts a particular episode of life with that person. The scenes and the people are not especially unusual or stirring but the idea that the precise installment will never, in all of time, happen again was enough to interest Crain. She is taking a microscope to the simplest of human interactions and feelings, turning them over in her hands, looking at them from all angles, measuring them on all sides, and taking them apart, realizing they really are exceptional but only in the smallest ways.
Sometimes music is a collision of opposites. Realities clash and coexist, and the tension that results is scary and strange, but undeniably beautiful. Maybe that’s why Samantha Crain embodies so many conflicting unities and clashing identities. With a blow-your-hair-back vocal presence that occasionally yields to whisper-soft vulnerability, Crain unites the sounds of confidence and desperation. Lyrics about disaster and despair peacefully coexist with anthems of community and reconciliation. Here are darkness and light; here are life and death.
These colliding realities stem most notably from Crain’s unlikely artistic heritage, which she wears on her sleeve but just as readily transcends. Hailing from Oklahoma, the state that birthed both The Flaming Lips and Woody Guthrie, Samantha Crain writes with both the brazen conviction of the latter and the unflinching creative ambition of the former. Hers is a folk tradition indebted to Radiohead as much as Bob Dylan. Her shadowy arrangements and razor-sharp lyrics blur whatever superficial lines of genre or aesthetic may seem to separate these influences. It seems whatever the ingredients; she has a place for them in her inexplicable artistic recipe.
6565 Foothills Lane
Concord, NC 28025
Label: The Avett Brothers, Bombadil, Martin Stephenson, the everybodyfields,
Sammy Walker, Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers, PALEFACE, Frontier Ruckus, Paul Burch, The Duke and the King / Simone Felice
Management: The Avett Brothers, Bombadil, the everybodyfields, Carolina
Chocolate Drops, Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers, Frontier Ruckus