As we count down the days until Saturday’s big ol’ party at Native Sound Stage, Oxford Karma’s Endless Summer (tickets available here), we’ll also be profiling each of the artists performing and, most importantly, why they need to be seen. Next up: Samantha Crain.
Set time: 9 p.m.
Why you need to see her: Samantha Crain has played with the likes of The Avett Brothers, recorded with renowned producer John Vanderslice, regularly tours abroad and continues to receive heaps of praise from some of the most prominent music publications in the world. Yet while all that recognition is undoubtedly deserved, her timeless, intimate songwriting is ultimately what will transcend it all. Crain is continually rewriting her legacy with each passing album, and her most recent, this year’s Under Branch & Thorn & Tree, finds the Shawnee-raised singer-songwriter in peak creative form, experimenting with sound and structure while expanding the scope of her narrative. It’s an earnest glimpse into the lives of your average everymen, akin to a more introspective, prairie-dwelling Springsteen. And what The Boss has represented to the people of New Jersey, Crain is becoming to the people of Oklahoma.
What others in the know are saying: “Samantha Crain leans into her pain. She’s only just approaching 30, but if you listen closely to this woman’s songwriting, it sounds like she’s been through enough to fill half a century. “When you come back would you bring my heart?” she laments on the aptly named “When You Come Back,” the devastating centerpiece off Under Branch & Thorn & Tree. On this bitter barroom ballad, Crain alternates between hoping against hope and setting her heart like flint toward her flimsy former lover. The strength of her pain alone seems like enough to spook any timid-hearted man, so the story of his absence feels inevitable, somehow. Luckily for us, this strength never leaves her, even if lovers do.” – Caitlin White (Stereogum, July 14, 2015)
Essential listening: Under Branch & Thorn & Tree