Folk Review – Samantha Crain’s “Kid Face”
Samantha Crain emerges from Shawnee, OK with her 3rd full length offering and 5th release overall called Kid Face–a delightfully sparse project, but deliberative and in-depth in its forays into the mind’s inner dimensions and ulterior tendencies. Kid Face is despondent by nature, but prone to tangents of frolicking melodies that pull you into the project to later get lost in its complexities.
A Ramseur Records affiliate, Samantha has already proven her worth many times over in creating choruses that rise to catch the ear. The opening track “Never Going Back” belongs in this category; a tale of jilted love that could be categorized as the “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” for the rest of us. The fun and swaying “Somewhere All The Time” is also a simple listen, but from there Samantha seems mostly bored with making her songs so easily entertaining, and challenges herself and the listener by creating superfluous amounts of space, and then filling it with very little but tasteful, thoughtfully-placed tones and sincere expressionism.
In the song “Taught To Lie” Samantha introduces a sultry new persona with a quivering, patina voice, and words about the nature of lies that flow like a long black dinner dress. “Late in the night, I’ve learned to tell the truth … sometimes.”
From there the context of Kid Face falls into more abstract structures as much akin to Radiohead as anything else, though no less infectious than a conventional approach when given time to grow on the brain matter. Crain’s style is folky, with rock and country tangents. But mostly it resides in a non-genre-specific singer/songwriter style that allows the music to remain non-confined.
The lost and depressed “The Pattern Has Changed” and its breathing, un-muted piano breeds fierce condolences in the listener, as does the very personal “We’ve Been Found.” The 5 minutes of “For The Miner” go by fast from the penetrating bass beat. Rhythm tends to trump improvising in Kid Face, wishing to leave the artistic expression in the hands of the words and arrangements. Samantha’s studio collaborator, the analog-savvy John Vanderslice, compliments Crain’s “simple, yet complex” approach.
Kid Face reveals some of the darkness in Samantha Crain that we may be able to look back through her career and see hints of, but was never revealed in full until now, without completely losing the playful, cherubic nature of her form and style. And one would be remiss for opening up a discussion on Samantha Crain without mentioning her voice, which seems to be the whole reason for the music in the first place–the thick, annular tones that so eloquently cleave all the harsh edges off the English language and leave only a curved, supple texture pleasing to the ear.
Some of the feyness of Kid Face make keep some listeners at arm’s length, while those that venture near will be pulled in tight.
1 1/2 of 2 guns up.
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Purchase Kid Face from Samantha Crain
Preview & Purchase Tracks on Amazon
March 3, 2013 @ 12:48 pm
Heard of her a few years ago from William Elliot Whitmore but never looked her up. That video sounded pretty good.
March 3, 2013 @ 2:12 pm
She’s toured with Whitmore a couple of times, and with First Aid Kit, American Aquarium, Murder by Death, and a bunch of other cool bands. I’m surprised I don;t see a little more chatter for her around these parts, but I understand her sound might be a little fey to the country ear.
March 3, 2013 @ 6:33 pm
Seems like quality female artists are far more plentiful than the males… not a fan of the reCAPTCHA Trig. I get it wrong about everytime.
March 3, 2013 @ 6:46 pm
I was just thinking that very thing. I”™m honestly not trying to exclude men in my reviews, but the womerns are the ones doing the most damage right now. Caitlin Rose has a great one coming up too.
Nobody hates these Captchas more than me, and they seemed to have gotten harder today for some reason that we”™re looking into. Unfortunately, we have to keep them up, and least for a little while longer. The spam was so bad, it was knocking the site offline. Sometimes 700 spam comments and hour.
March 3, 2013 @ 7:55 pm
I’ve never actually heard of her before, although I heard “Never Going Back” the other day, but I can’t remember where to save my life. I’ll have to check her out though because I really like that song.
And as far as you covering so many women recently I think it’s great. My music collection contains so few women artists it’s kind of embarrassing. But you’ve given me quite a few to check out recently so thanks for that man.
March 4, 2013 @ 10:47 am
Gotta agree with this comment, for as much music as I have / listen to it is not a good ratio……a sausage fest if you will lol, just kidding but always stoked to hear of new female artists.
Saw Grayson Capps last night (who was fucking awesome) but the opening band was called If Birds Could Fly – if you get a chance to catch them do it, the main singer is the pretty small redhead but she had a huge voice! Graysonn Capps himself (along with the small crowd that was there) were all kind of blown away by it.
It was one of those shows where there were about 20 people in a 2-300 person venue, but they got up there and by the end of there set (I’m pretty sure) had everybody into it.
Oh and Samantha Crain is great live too, seems very down to earth/nice & her music is great. If any of you like this song but haven’t heard her older stuff please look it up as well, I think her voice/sound is very unique and nobody else could really pull it off.
PS it’s Ramseur (Records), and it’s also the name of a town here in NC……..(Ramseur was named for Stephen Dodson Ramseur, the youngest Confederate major general of the Civil War. – Wikipedia, but we drive through there fairly often on the way to a nearby national forest we camp in). there’s a lot of jokes about this place I love that they named the record co that!
March 4, 2013 @ 10:49 am
(Not Ram-e-seur, that’s a type of dinosaur that rams things with its rock-hard head. Also from the area.)
March 4, 2013 @ 11:13 am
What did I say? Oh, I slid an extra “e” in there for some reason. Interesting information on the etymology. I know Ramseur is the last name of the label owner, and he is from North Carolina, so I wonder if there is a direct relation.
March 4, 2013 @ 11:58 am
Yea I’m pretty sure there’s a connection, I remember reading something about it a long ass time ago. Not trying to be a nitpicker just thought it’s interesting. Another side not about it (that I found via wikipedia) is that they filmed a movie called Killers Three (or something like that) in & around Ramseur in 1968, and apparently Waylon Jennings is the sherriff in it and wrote a song for it as well! I’ll have to track down a copy!
March 4, 2013 @ 1:46 am
i caught her opening up for William Elliott Whitmore back in october. incredible voice.