The Norman Transcript-Under Branch & Thorn & Tree Album Review
Album Reviews: NTown’s Doug Hill reviews new releases from Samantha Crain / Aqueduct / Frank Brown
By Doug Hill
Artist: Samantha Crain
Album: “Under Branch & Thorn & Tree”
This is Samantha Crain’s senior album. Her melancholy tone has changed little. Crain’s virtuosity as a vocalist, musician and songwriter has only grown through these first four records. The entire content of this review could easily be focused on just one song. Track three, “Elk City,” may be the most quintessentially Oklahoma song ever written. It’s not a saga of a surrey with fringe on top. The song chronicles a teen mother whose boyfriend came to the Anadarko basin to get rich in the oil patch.
She’s abandoned when the boom goes bust. Her baby grows up and gets a university education, allowing escape from the small town. It’s doubtful that Elk City’s chamber of commerce will embrace this unflinching song but working folks at The Longhorn Saloon mentioned in the lyrics might. “You Or Mystery” tells the story of 35-year-old neighbor man, whose name isn’t even known, found dead at home. Crain’s gentle vocals and simple guitar breathe touching humanity into the gloomy event.
“Big Rock” is the disc’s lone upbeat tune and is not in praise of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s about being stranded on a big rock with a river of life’s problems rushing on all sides. Crain has cultivated a tall tree of music with this album and it’s a mighty strong one.