Hometown: Shawnee, Okla.
Fun Fact:Bean and Berry, performing a set chock full of Radiohead and
Creedence Clearwater Revival covers.
Why She's Worth Watching:
Vocalist/guitarist Crain, along with her band The Midnight Shivers
[drummer Jacob Edwards, bassist Andrew Tanz and guitarist Nate
Hendricks], delivers a refreshing brand of indie-folk that fuses
accessible, narrative lyrics with a home-grown wholesomeness
reminiscent of her rural origin.
For Fans Of:
Pete Seeger, Neko Case, Feist
Samantha Crain is not your
Every bit a rural Oklahoman, the
twenty-one-year-old with Native American blood and a penchant for
tinkering with any instrument she can get her hands on, is rooted
firmly in the ideals of folk music. She is earthy and honest, opts
for traditional over trendy attire, and can tell a story like
nobody's business. Crain records most of her material in low-key
settings—a friend’s basement in Greenville, Illinois birthed her
new EP, The Confiscation—understand that Samantha Crain is, well, just a little bit different.
“I always wanted to be a performer,”
says the Choctaw singer-songwriter. “I was in college studying
English literature but I probably would have joined the circus after
graduation if I wasn’t doing music.” A college-derived
appreciation for the written word led Crain away from the big top and
down a musical path where she drew influence from “short-story
writers and poets [more so] than other lyricists and musicians.” In
her aural narratives, the Native American spirituality of N. Scott
Momaday’s In The Bear’s House just as likely influences
the songstress as the violence and destructive sexuality of the
Depression-era characters in Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road.
Embodying ethereal, dusky and
deliciously playful subject matter, Crain’s Ramseur Records debut,
The Confiscation, runs the gamut between “fairly subdued”
and “[just] good old American rock music.” Traditional
instrumentation—harmonica, sparse guitars, tambourine and group
vocals—melds with stranger fare throughout the EP’s five tracks.
“If you listen closely in 'Traipsing Through The Aisles' you’ll
hear some unearthly sounds,” Crain explains. “That’s because
we have wired up a recording device [using three CB radios and a TV
antenna] that can pick up and record sounds from space.”
Quirky, yes, but Crain insists that she
has developed a sound of her own by living in rural Oklahoma, away
from the limelight, “removed enough from the music industry [and]
away from a lot of influences and pressure.” She and her band, The
Midnight Shivers, consider themselves “good old boys and a girl of
the same sort,” the kind of people who are obsessed with Bojangles’
sweet tea and just so happen to always carry a tin of “the best
oatmeal cookies” on tour, courtesy of drummer Jacob Edward’s
Only two years past her teens, Crain
already has several national tours under her belt, the
accolade-worthy EP, The Confiscation
(which is out July 22), and her entire career ahead of her.
Although she finds herself on a performance path far different than
she initially intended, she insists that “being in a touring band
[really] is...like being in the circus.”
Check out more Native American Music today on the web.