NATIVE AMERICAN singer-songwriter Samantha Crain has been quietly making a name for herself over the past five years, with music that has embraced indie, alternative-rock, folk, and acoustic.
Samantha grew up in Shawnee, central Oklahoma, a city where almost 13 per cent of the population are Native-American. Although fiercely proud of her Choctaw heritage, she admits it has only a partial impact on her songwriting.
“Even if I don’t really adopt anything traditional to Native culture into my lyrics, one thing I do like to do is access the rawness of the singing,” she told cowboysandindians.com “There’s something very primal about the way a lot of Native artists sing or play instruments. I’ve picked up on that and tried to convey that in my singer-songwriter experience.”
Samantha taught herself to play guitar in her teens and began developing as a songwriter. She cites the two most famous musical acts to ever emerge from Oklahoma asher chief musical inspirations;.
“The Flaming Lips and Woody Guthrie are probably two of my largest influences,” she told newsok.com “They embody the Oklahoma music sound on two different ends of the spectrum...experimental rock on the Flaming Lips side and the folks and roots Americana music on the Woody Guthrie side.”
Samantha’s first two EPs, 2009’s Songs In The Night and 2010’s You (Understood ) - both have just been reissued and expanded to 13 tracks each - lean toward indie-rock and singer-songwriter. Her debut album, Kid Face (2013 ), ploughs more fully into folk, roots, and Americana territory.
Samantha Crain’s Essential Songs
Samantha Crain plays the Róisín Dubh on Wednesday July 23 at 8pm as part of the Galway International Arts Festival. In advance of the show, we present a playlist of five of her best songs:
From Kid Face, this video is from a live studio session performance of the song. A marvellous acoustic number, it manages to be both delicate, and yet possess an underlying strength. It also showcases her guitar skills.
2. ‘Rising Sun’
Samantha’s debut EP opened with this impressive piece of melodic, soft-rocking indie.
A more muscular, grittier, almost grunge side to Samantha’s songwriting, this version of the song comes from a 2011 concert.
4. ‘The Pattern Has Changed’
This ballad from Kid Face eschews guitar for piano, and is another showcase for the Oklahoman’s songwriting skills.
5. ‘Somewhere All The Time’
An upbeat and infectious folk-pop belter about the importance of slowing down and enjoying the here and now.