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Home » Music Artist for January 2016: Samantha Crain
Music Artist January 2016 Samantha Crain

Music Artist for January 2016: Samantha Crain

Samantha Crain’s songs are full of expansive melodies that veer off in unpredictable directions, with lyrics that explore conflicting emotions with uncommon insight and compassion. She has a jazz singer’s phrasing, often breaking words into rhythmic fragments that land before and after the beat, stretching syllables or adding grace notes to uncover hidden nuances in her lyrics.

A Choctaw Indian, Crain grew up in the small town of Shawnee, Oklahoma, listening to her father’s Dylan and Neil Young records, and trying her hand at writing short stories. Crain didn’t get serious about songwriting until after high school when she picked up the guitar her father had given her when she was 12 and reworked a series of stories into her first songs. The songs became her self-released EP, The Confiscation: A Musical Novella.

Her latest album, Under Branch & Thorn & Tree, was recorded with the backing of other Oklahoma musicians including Jesse Aycock and John Calvin Abney, along with Ohio drummer Anne Lillis. The album’s overall tone may be somber, but Crain’s vocals and the sensitive, striking arrangements bring unexpected flashes of light to even the darkest scenarios.

“The musical talent pool in Oklahoma right now is remarkable. When I come home from tour, I can go out almost any night of the week in OKC, Norman or Tulsa and listen to an amazing band or songwriter. It is really special!” Crain says of the musical talent in Oklahoma.

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