The Pitch - Kansas City
By Elke Mermis
Samantha Crain, with Zeb Dewar and the Fed. Sunday, May 23, at the Eighth Street Taproom.
Rising from the dust of her native Oklahoma, Samantha Crain’s smoky soprano infuses her dreamy songs with a freak-folk quaver. This translates to floor-thumping, bluegrass-inspired romps in a live setting (as when Crain opened for Langhorne Slim last summer at the Jackpot). Crain’s songs, such as “Rising Sun” off last year’s Songs in the Night, still border on the beautiful and showcase an earnest charm. For her second release, You (Understood), due out June 8, Crain turned to her mentors in the Chicago avant-garde band Berry and recorded the disc with them in a white pole barn outside Wichita. Gone are Night’s slightly gothic fairy tales; instead, each tune is dedicated to a short encounter with a real person in Crain’s life. This introspective turn promises more of what we love about Crain: folk-driven melodies shaded with an enchanting dark streak.