Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers
May 19 • Southgate House (Parlour)
By Brian Baker
When Ramseur Records released Samantha Crain’s EP, The Confiscation, two years ago, it was a debut only in the loosest sense of the word, as Crain had already self-released a fairly voluminous series of demos before signing with the label. The young Oklahoman (and full blood Choctaw) sings and writes with the emotional authority that one would expect from someone who shares roots with Woody Guthrie, while offering a contemporary sonic perspective within her emotive and melancholy story songs.
For those who didn’t already know her at the time, The Confiscation was a tantalizing introduction to a unique singer/songwriter with a propensity for Southern Gothic lyrical twists and heart-on-sleeve vocals that suggested Feist steered by a heartland Folk Pop vibe.
On last year’s Songs in the Night, Crain added an actual band, the Midnight Shivers, which expanded the range of her Folk Pop odes and hymns into tougher Indie Rock territory while retaining the rootsy textures of her earlier work. Like The Confiscation, Songs in the Night was hailed as one of the best efforts of the year, and that reaction is likely to greet Crain and the Midnight Shivers’ imminent new album, You (Understood), set for release early next month.
You (Understood) continues in the vein of Songs in the Night, as Crain’s elegantly simple compositions skirt the line between swaggeringly visceral Indie Rock and unassumingly pastoral Folk Pop. By all accounts, the new album hews considerably closer to the former, a situation that is accentuated in its live presentation, as anyone who saw any of Crain and the Shivers’ performances at last year’s South By Southwest can attest.
One thing is certain: Whether Samantha Crain chooses to deliver her songs with Americana bluster or Folk delicacy, you will be compelled to listen.