Samantha Crain – Old Cinema Launderette (Durham, UK – January 31, 2014)
I have been looking forward to this for a while. I have liked Samantha Crain since 2008 when I heard ‘The River’ online and was immediately hooked so I bought ‘The Confiscation EP’ and her subsequent 3 albums, and I have liked each more than the previous (unusual for me).
I accidentally saw Samantha play a few songs at the Americana Summertyne festival in Gateshead a couple of years ago. I was sitting in the Northern Rock Foundation Hall after watching a Secret Garden piece, when Samantha walked in and played 3 or 4 songs that were completely amazing. This was the first chance I’ve had to see her play a complete set.
And, it’s a first for 2014…an artist I was totally aware of and even owned their back catalogue.
I had a chat with Samantha before she played where I professed my love of her music and she talked about the economics of touring solo or with a band, adapting full-band songs to perform on her own, supporting Suzanne Vega the following night in Glasgow and getting a UK record label to release her latest (her third not her first) record.
She played songs from all her albums and a brand new song. I was pleased she played ‘Santa Fe’ and ‘We Are The Same’ from her second album ‘You (Understood)’ as they are a couple of my favourites. From her latest album, ‘Kid Face’, I thought the stand-out tracks were ‘Churchill’, ‘For The Miner’ that was dedicated to Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co, and ‘Somewhere All The Time’.
Samantha’s melodies are unpredictable and beautiful, and her guitar playing is imaginative and deft. She told a great story about how she takes fortune cookies too seriously and how this led to one of the great lyrics in ‘Churchill’.
“Tea spoon in the morning, table spoon at night,
My fortune’s never made sense, so I assume neither did I.”
Her stories about her songs were funny, moving and interesting. She seemed genuinely surprised by the praise and cheers and how attentive the audience was. It was a great performance and she got a great reception from a great audience. I even got the chance to see her perform a short set at Celtic Connections in Glasgow a few days later.
- ‘Sante Fe’
- ‘Never Going Back’
- New song…’One More Night’ (?)
- ‘Devils in Boston’
- ‘Somewhere All The Time’
- ‘For The Miner’ (for Jason Molina)
- ‘Scissor Tales’
- ‘We Are The Same’