Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Samantha Crain invites us into what feels like her cozy little house, a gorgeous old wood-framed joint with a personality, beautiful shutters nestled around the windows and a green, green lawn that looks back upon a wrap-around porch with a creaky swing. We are hearing the songs that she's making to her lost loves, to her new babies and to their forecasted, sad expirations.
She just throws another log on the fire, gets another drink and works through all of her painful and touching emotions - all of which are coming down the line in a fine southern drawl and with the dreaminess of starlight and moon beams. "Lions," a new song that made its debut in her previous session and is worth a thousand listens, features many of her greatest assets - that pulsing drive that gives her the ability to drum up all of her concerns and turn them into living beasts that need to be scared away or else they'll just live on and prey, the angelic touch of her soft but powerful voice, and a quivering tone of uncertainty and fear in a voice that dares to be vulnerable and brave all at once.
The final line that rings out at the end of the song is, "Gonna getcha through this," and it could be what keeps her blood pumping, this idea that there is some help out there to assist in getting through another day, despite being sick and tired of all the rejection and poor results. Crain seems to believe in the overriding goodness of it all and not the monsters, not the sad times or the people who perpetrate the sad times. She seems to want these to burn brighter, to be there for her when she needs them the most, but the truth is that they choose when they want to be around and she's left with whatever strength she has in herself, chanting over and over again, as she does on "Beloved, We Have Expired," "To be held again/To be held again/To be held again/Oh/Oh…." It has to be enough, that hope.
*Essay originally published January, 2010