The Washington Post - Album Review
Kindred spirits: Mary Gauthier, Bonnie Raitt
Show: With Frontier Ruckus on Thursday at Iota. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. 703-522-8340. http://www.iotaclubandcafe.com.
Samantha Crain has parted ways with her band, the Midnight Shivers, but who would notice? Since the 23-year-old Oklahoma native burst onto the scene with her 2007 release “The Confiscation,” a five-song EP, she has been a one-woman musical force of nature.
Harmonica, tambourines and other folk instrumentation favored by Woody Guthrie (one of Crain’s musical idols) are mainstays of her arsenal. On her new album, “You (Understood),” she lets electric guitars and drums edge their way further into the spotlight.
The result is 11 songs that would seem incredibly disparate were it not for Crain’s rich, husky voice and lyrics filled with fiery emotion, dramatic temperament and longing.
Consider some of the songs on Crain’s palette: the slightly grunge-flavored rocker “Equinox,” the Bonnie Raitt-style, blues-heavy “Santa Fe” and the garage-band-sounding “Two-Sidedness.” Not many artists can pull off such a musical feast, yet Crain does so while keeping it all genuine.
“We don’t do take after take,” Crain said in an interview. “I just want the raw emotion to come out. I guess I’m like that in everyday life, too.”
— Nancy Dunham