Samantha Crain’s grew up listening to the music of her native state of Oklahoma, from Woody Guthrie’s down-home folksiness to the wide-open sonic palette of The Flaming Lips. Now she makes her own, adding a piece to the state’s musical legacy. Along with her band, The Midnight Shivers, she’s creating her own musical legacy to inspire future generations of Oklahoman musicians.
Like many young people Samantha Crain headed off to college after high school, working on a degree in English lit. During her studies she registered for a semester-long songwriting retreat in Martha’s Vineyard. After spending months crafting her songwriting technique, and facing a mountain of student load debt, she decided to forego the rest of her college career and turn pro as a touring musician. She toured all over the country, and released an EP, The Confiscation. Her songs sounded good with just her guitar and harmonica, but what they really needed was a band. So The Midnight Shivers were born.
Crain & company’s album Songs in the Night is good-old, straightforward, countrified rock ‘n roll. Like any good honky-tonk rock record it manages to switch between getting you out of your chair and making you look within yourself. Crain’s vocals are unique, honest, and vulnerable. The band is tight. And the lyrics, like most good country rock lyrics, tell stories. The result is a package that just works, delivering both an emotional connection and pure entertainment. But enough talking, let’s take a listen:
“Songs in the Night”
This has been stuck in my head all damn day. And that’s a good thing. It’s the type of song that, upon hearing for the first time, you think you’ve heard before. But you can’t place it. Then you realize, you haven’t heard it before, it’s just so right you feel like you should have.
“Bullfight (Change Your Mind)”
A little more up-tempo and edgy than “Songs in the Night”, what really strikes me about this song is the vocals, both lead and backing. The backing vocals sound like they could be in a Rosebuds song. And the lead vocal is sublimely odd. Crain’s phrasing and pronunciation keep you guessing, never falling into “normal”. The result is a song that stays interesting even after repeated listenings.
promo for Songs in the Night
“Devil’s in Boston”