Why You Should be Listening to Samantha Crain


It’s a Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. (which for me might as well be 6:30), and I’m being forced to attend the early class I always prefer to skip. Why? Our professor has paid a billion dollars out of pocket for some Oklahoma chick with a guitar to come sing to us and “culturally enlighten” the 15 kids in my class. As if 15 native Oklahomans don’t understand Oklahoma culture. Really, I think she just wanted a private concert because she was going on like JLo had arrived.

Anyways, I’m sitting there all disheveled, with yesterday’s make-up smudged up on my face, pessimistically waiting for our “famous guest” to sputter out a few chords on her dusty guitar. To my great astonishment, she wasn’t half bad. In fact, she was amazing. The first song she sang for us was “Santa Fe,” and I was captivated.

After class I decided to hit iTunes and dig a little deeper. After listening to just a few of her songs, I had no choice but to download the album. Her voice is the lesbian lovechild of Regina Spektor and Nora Jones, and her guitar melodies are a jambalaya mix of acoustic Train and John Mayer, with a dash of Mumford and Sons to taste. After browsing through her albums, I can already say that I have a favorite song, “Scissortail.” It’s a subtle tribute to Oklahoma with simplistically moving lyrics.

At times her songs have a bit of country twang, I’ll admit, but her hipster-styled voice and poetic lyrics more than compensate for that hideous country drone that creeps in from time to time. Even when country does slip in, though, it’s the right kind of country: that old-styled harmonica or fiddle lick that heralds Johnny Cash. Still, the majority of her songs have more of a folk rhythm, like “Paint”.

Maybe I like her because I’ve met her, or maybe it’s because I can get behind an Oklahoman artist who doesn’t sound like they’re from Oklahoma (Hanson, anyone?). Maybe, instead, it’s because she writes her own songs, and there’s just something admirable about that. Either way, I’m hooked, and I hope you will be too. If you too have been infected by a new artist lately, feel free to share in the comments.

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