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NewsOK.com - CD review: Samantha Crain “You (Understood)”

5.27.10

CD review: Samantha Crain “You (Understood)”

The 11 tracks on “You (Understood),” due out June 8, microscopically examine her interactions with 16 people.

Published: May 28, 2010

ROCK

(Ramseur Records)

Oklahoma-born and bred singer-songwriter Samantha Crain established herself as a preternaturally gifted young storyteller on her 2008 EP “The Confiscation” and 2009’s LP “Songs in the Night.”

Less than 14 months after the release of her widely praised full-length debut, Crain, 23, can be found focusing less on weaving yarns out of contrasting strands of darkness and light and more on channeling raw emotions into musical form. The 11 tracks on “You (Understood),” due out June 8, microscopically examine her interactions with 16 people. The unusual approach lends an added air of mystery to Crain’s usual penchant for penning literate and enigmatic lyrics.

The Shawnee native certainly comes across as an artist eager to express her feelings, as confused or confusing as they might be. The acoustic ballad “We Are the Same,” with Stillwater songbird Sherree Chamberlain on background vocals, conveys desperate sadness. The earthy “Santa Fe,” her duet with Matthew Milia of Michigan folk-rockers Frontier Ruckus, emanates wistfulness, even as Milia’s bandmate Davey Jones picks a sprightly banjo line.

Her first co-write, the foot-stomper “Up on the Table,” penned with Chicago songsmith Becky Beighley, mingles youthful uncertainty and defiance. Crain’s foggily evocative voice is one of her best assets, and she seems more in command of her instrument than ever.

“You (Understood)” may not feature a standout track like “The River,” “Songs in the Night” or “Rising Sun,” but the overall experience sets her apart as a performer who defies easy categorization.

— Brandy McDonnell

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  • Posted on June 4