Samantha Crain crashes in
This unassuming singer-songwriter destroyed one local bar, and she’d do it again
“I don’t know. There’s a lot of people out here!” exclaims Samantha Crain, who’s at a North Carolina pool and reluctant to demonstrate, by singing, how her nimble phrasing can allegedly rhyme any word with any other word. (We requested “orange” and “molasses.”)
But that’s not to say the up-and-coming folk-pop singer is unwilling to put herself out there. The 21-year-old Choctaw Indian and Oklahoma native has been booking her own tours for about two-and-a-half years and has recently generated a good bit of buzz for her EP “The Confiscation,” a lovely and classically American collection of five songs about redemption, betrayal and self-discovery. Crain has also been added to this fall’s Hotel Café tour; which in previous incarnations has featured other rising artists like Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles.
While waiting for Crain’s full-length debut to come out in late ’08 or early ’09, we talked to her about “The Confiscation” and her experience with liquor falling from the sky.
One of your recent performances ended with the bar collapsing. What happened?
We were playing in Oklahoma City at the Conservatory, which is kind of this little hole in the wall bar there. They kept all their liquor on this hanging shelf. And we were just sitting at the bar and the bar just fell off the ceiling after we were done playing. It was kind of strange. Hit me right on the head. The bar and all the liquor and everything. Spilled all over. It was kind of intense.
Did your instincts kick in to say, “Throw head back, open mouth, there’s liquor falling from the sky”?
[Laughs] No, actually I was sitting with my back to it, so I didn’t realize that it was actually happening until it was kind of on top of me already. Next time hopefully I’ll toss my head back.
What was the cause of it falling? You rocking so hard?
No, that was kind of the joke that we kept saying. I guess they just had been doing a lot of construction and it jarred it loose or something like that.
How much will that be in the back of your mind whenever you rock?
That’s actually my goal now is to make sure the bar falls off the ceiling. So venues beware.
The record has a lot about good and evil. How do you assess those contrasts in yourself?
Well, I think that struggle is within everybody. But I think for the most part I’m good.
So you have some demons that you’re trying to purge?
Yeah, writing actually probably does that. Some of the newer songs we’ve been playing live have these mantras that are inserted in the choruses, just kind of a repetition of a phrase or something that I think has formed because [I’m] trying to talk myself into another way of acting or living or being. I’m sure if someone listened to [the EP] they would think I was this really angry, sad person or something. ‘Cause there is a lot of things that are touched upon that are not pleasant, but it’s probably because once I can get them out in a song, I think I’m a lot more pleasant person.
You’re not angry or sad right now?
No, I’m sitting by a swimming pool right now. I’m happy!
What is one of those mantras?
There’s a song that we play live called “Calm Down” and the bridge is “Save yourself,” and we say that over and over for quite a long time. Where that came from is sort of just dealing with control of your own life and not really letting other people have say over what it is that you’re going to do or how you’re going to be.
And if you see someone in trouble at the pool you could yell that to them.
Right, exactly! Well, I’m not at a public pool. But yeah, I could say that to somebody drowning.
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