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Crain ready to put on her Kid Face

By JACK W. HILL SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published February 21, 2013 at 12:27 a.m.

— Samantha Crain has a singing voice that manages to convey folk, rhythm and blues and rock sounds that reveal little trace of her Oklahoma and Choctaw Nation origins.

Crain, who lives in Shawnee, Okla., is touring to support her latest album, Kid Face, which was released recently after being recorded totally on analog tape.

Her tour will take her to the White Water Tavern this weekend, a place she has visited several times in her seven years of touring.

“Little Rock was one of the first cities we visited outside of Oklahoma,” she says. “So I like to think I have developed some fan following there.”

Crain began her recording career in 2007 with an unusual musical approach, The Confiscation: A Musical Novella by Samantha Crain, a five-song EP which earned her comparisons with such non-musical writers as Carson McCullers and Flannery O’Connor, with her voice being compared to “Judy Garland singing Neutral Milk Hotel songs,” according to the Shipwreck music website.

“Those would be some big shoes to fill,” she says with a laugh. “And those were old comparisons when I wrote some short stories and turned them into songs.”

She released her first full-length album, Songs in the Night, in 2008, backed by her then-band, The Midnight Shivers, and followed that with You (Understood) in 2010.

“So I’ve moved from fictional settings, starting with The Confiscation project, to where now Kid Face is all about autobiographical self-confessional,” she says. “I have a couple of showcase shows coming up at this year’s South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, which I’ve avoided for about four years. It’s pretty hectic and stressful, and I’m a pretty low-key person, besides.”

Crain comes by her musical talent naturally, she says, without any vocal training.

“I tried a couple of times, but they were taking all the fun out of singing,” she says.“To me, music isn’t something you learn. I’ve taught myself how to sing.”

She has also sung on albums released by Murder by Death and The Hudson Branch. In 2008, she and her band toured with Justin Townes Earle, Rachael Yamagata, Ingrid Michaelson, Meiko and Jessica Lea Mayfield. In 2009, she and the band toured with The Avett Brothers, Langhorne Slim, Ben Kweller, Josh Ritter, Sara Watkins and Elvis Perkins. In 2010, she toured with Murder by Death and Frontier Ruckus; in 2011, she toured with Langhorne Slim and Hezekiah Jones and in 2012, she opened shows for American Aquarium, Ben Weaver and William Elliott Whitmore.

Opening act Kevin Kerby is one of Little Rock’s best known singer-songwriters, from his days with Ho-Hum and Mulehead to solo work and with his most recent backing band, Battery.

Samantha Crain

Opening act: Kevin Kerby

9:30 p.m. Saturday, White

Water Tavern, West Sev

enth and Thayer streets,

Little Rock

Admission: $7

(501) 375-8400

whitewatertavern.com

Weekend, Pages 33 on 02/21/2013

Print Headline: Crain ready to put on her Kid Face

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