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Singer/songwriter Samantha Crain promises an intimate concert experience

Samantha Crain is a singer who performs a style of folk music that is like a warming breeze. Many of any generation could find it striking.

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Singer/songwriter Samantha Crain promises an intimate concert experience

Contributed/ Dakota Lewallen

Contributed/ Dakota Lewallen

Contributed/ Dakota Lewallen

Austin J. Yerington, Arts Reporter

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Music, folk music in particular, has the power to weave stories for listeners.

Samantha Crain is a singer who performs a style of folk music that is like a warming breeze. Many of any generation could find striking. With deep roots tied to folk and Americana, it feels as if the listener is transported into the soft-spoken vortex of Crain’s mind when listening to her music.

On March 2, singer/songwriter Crain will perform in Iowa City on her Living Room Tour. The location will only be revealed after people purchase tickets online.

Crain, a Choctaw native of Shawnee, Oklahoma, has
a strong connection with her hometown, but that didn’t influence her to flow toward folk, as many might assume.

“I’m sure a lot of people attach the ‘I play folk music because I’m from Oklahoma,’ ” she said. “I think my only influence was my desire to not be [in Oklahoma]. I still live here, but by the time I started writing I had such a strong desire to see something else and not get trapped or caught up in staying around there.”

Her connection with folk music is far more specific than something geographical. It is the storytelling.

“It kind of felt the most like me,” Crain said. “There are a lot of areas you can exist in the folk, folk-rock world. And I think I gravitate to the storytelling in the songs … They were really story-heavy and image heavy. That’s where I felt the most at home.”

With Crain’s influences being singers such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Buffy Sainte-Marie, it’s a quick conclusion that Crain loves song storytelling.

It’s not necessarily that I put on this big flashy show, it’s that I’m here to draw you in and have a special intimate moment with you.”

— Samantha Crain

She has been creating music since 2007 and has made five albums in that time. Her writing has evolved greatly over her career.

“When I made my first EP … I wasn’t very good at guitar, I was mainly doing it to sing lyrics,” Crain said. “So all the songs started with lyrics … But as I got better at guitar, I found my songs will start with a guitar riff or a picking melody.”

Her first EP came from her deep love of storytelling, with many of them being the offspring of many of her short stories. As she developed, the process became a bit more spontaneous.

“I won’t write a song in months, but then I’ll write five or six all at once, in the span of a couple weeks,” she said. “That’s how I work. I have never really thought too much about themes or concepts behind albums … they all come from the same couple months of my life.”

Crain’s Choctaw heritage has influenced her music, yet she finds the future of her tribe and pop culture is also heavily influenced by other indigenous artists.

“I am deeply grateful for and attached to my heritage and ancestry, but it’s more about creating new traditions for the tribe and for people my age in the tribe,” she said. “The thing that I think is really important to flip around is, especially for modern and contemporary indigenous artist, that as much as they are influenced by their traditions … Indigenous artists affect current pop culture and not so much as how we are affected by our past.”

Crain will performing an intimate concert on the tour, because she feels most at home in a deeply personal style of performance.

“The point of what I’m doing is trying to convey this intimate moment with people,” she said. “I want to just play songs for people and have them respond. I want to talk to people when I am on stage and tell stories.”

Her fans know well the her expressing deeply human experiences. She is very conscious about that in her art.

“I think with a living-room tour, it helps people realize they are there to have a human experience and not just a concert experience,” Crain said. “Which is what I feel like is my strength is … It’s not necessarily that I put on this big flashy show, it’s that I’m here to draw you in and have a special intimate moment with you.”

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About the Writer
Austin J. Yerington, Opinions Columnist and Arts Reporter

Austin J. Yerington is an Arts Reporter and Opinions Columnist at The Daily Iowan. He studies English and Creative Writing with a minor in Theater. He...

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