“Whenever I am not touring, I’m back in Oklahoma,” says 22-year-old singer-songwriter Samantha Crain, who, along with her band, The Midnight Shivers, just released her first full-length, Songs in the Night. When you hear Crain’s voice for the first time, it’s easy to imagine her sitting on a front porch in Shawnee, Oklahoma—not New York or L.A. —just living the good life. Because that’s what Crain’s music does—it takes you to a special place where you just want to let everything slide.
And Crain has got to have the most mature voice I have ever heard for a girl in her early twenties. It sounds bluesy, it sounds folky; sometimes it sounds like Janis Joplin mixed with Gillian Welch on booze. Coupled with her lyrics, her voice unabashedly reminds you she’s from a small town, and not surprisingly, her songs recall rural life in a romantic way.
“It probably works the same way like anybody from a regular small town in the Midwest—they try to romanticize the small-town life as much as possible,” Crain says. “Just for their own peace of mind—it’s something they know best.”
Crain is smart in that way—to write and sing about what she is familiar with. Her songs beg you to look them in the eye, sprint alongside them through tornado alleys, and lay with them under willow trees. They’re real, and they’re creations that Crain insists aren’t planned.
“I carry a notebook around with me all the time and just kind of like collect words and thoughts,” she says. “That way, whenever I do sit down and write a song, I have things to pull from. But, I don’t really have a specific way of doing it. I usually don’t write with other people; I can’t gather my thoughts correctly. I usually just write the songs and bring them to the band.”
For their newest batch of tunes on Songs in the Night, Crain and The Midnight Shivers often prove themselves to be an open creative force. “Long Division” and “Get the Fever Out” are natural nuggets of imaginative freedom—something Crain attributes to her record label.
“One of the amazing things about joining Ramseur Records is that we are still able to have the creative freedom needed,” Crain says. “It’s pretty much the perfect position to be in, as long as you don’t want things handed to you, or be a one-hit-wonder or something like that.”
It’s true—Samantha Crain might not ever create hits, but she’s well on her way to being Oklahoma’s very own cherished wonder. And who says that can’t last forever?
She said it: