Following 2014’s critically-acclaimed album Kid Face, Samantha Crain follows up the release of her fourth album, Under Branch & Thorn & Tree, with a date at The Latest Music Bar, Brighton on August 7.
Samantha is a born-and-bred Oklahoman with Choctaw heritage and plays with a revolving cast of musicians, including fiddle player Daniel Foulks.
While attending Oklahoma Baptist University, she registered for a songwriting retreat at Martha’s Vineyard, an experience which helped her hone her craft, after which she returned to Oklahoma set on a music career.
Her second UK release, the new album was recorded and mixed at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco, and produced by John Vanderslice.
Samantha has been building a following in the US and beyond over the last couple of years, including Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit who took her out on tour and have been long-time supporters of her music.
Although initially inspired by the sounds of her father’s record collection, including Bob Dylan and Neil Young, Samatha also drew on the music of her home state, from the Americana of Woody Guthrie to the sonic experiments of the Flaming Lips.
“I don’t write protest songs in the traditional sense. But I’m always listening to the voices of people around me. These stories are told from the perspective of the underdog, the 99 per cent of us that are working people. They might not be literal protest songs, but the lives of the people within these songs speak at the same volume if you listen.”
Samantha and Vanderslice recorded and mixed the album in ten days: “I like to work that quickly, and John’s good with spontaneous creation. We recorded straight to two-inch tape on a Studer 24-track machine and mixed down to half-inch tape on an Ampex machine. The pre-amps were tube, and we never used a computer.
“Our effects were done manually through tape looping and manipulation. Most of the arrangements happened in the moment, as we recorded. My guitar and vocals are all first or second takes.”
The new songs are marked by expansive melodies that veer off in unpredictable directions, with lyrics that explore conflicting emotions, Samantha explains.
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