Thursday was quite an eventful night with a storm front that moved in and dropped the temperature by 30 degrees. With the cooler temps and the smell of Fall in the air, we were all in for a special treat. Making the way over to the Cain’s Second Stage was much different from the heated summer nights we have become accustomed to, but I think everyone was enjoying the tease we were getting from Mother Nature and for the music we were about to experience.
Once inside, show opener John Fullbright took the stage with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. John is a 21 year old native from Okemah, Oklahoma. Even though everything about him seemed so simple, he really knew how to draw in an audience. One song that really stood out was one called Jericho. You can definitely hear resemblances of Leon Russell and Willie Nelson in his music. There was another song that stood out as well. John said he wrote it on the piano with lit tea candles when the power was out due to a tornado that had come through town. Not sure of the exact name, but it could have easily been called “The Fat Man”. John called it his “creepy” song. It was definitely different from the rest but was very well liked by the audience. If you want to check out John Fullbright’s music, you can get his album “Live at the Blue Door” on CD Baby or iTunes.
Samantha Crain and her band quickly took the stage and started the night off with playing “Lions” from her newest release “You (Understood). Samantha oozes with charisma and performs on stage as if she is playing to 5000 fans no matter how many are in attendance. Being a big fan of Indie-folk music myself, I have to say that Samantha Crain stands out from the rest. She has a sound that is uniquely and distinctively all her own; with her haunting vocals and edgy melodic tunes, there is no denying the star power this girl has and her likeability factor is off the charts!
Samantha shared that she had just bought a house in Oklahoma City. She said, “I know it isn’t Tulsa, but it’s only 40 minutes from Shawnee” (her home town). Samantha went on to say how much she hates paying the tolls, but it’s the fastest way to get through Tulsa because she said musicians are always running late in their own state. Then she laughed and said “That sounds like a Willie Nelson song”, which to that the crowd was laughing along with her.
When Samantha sings “Holdin’ That Wheel”, for some reason all I can hear is Jim Morrison. The tone of her voice and the darkness of the mood of the song is something that if Jim were alive today, I think he would be singing that song himself. The song is just mesmerizing and really pulls you in.
The harmonies with the band are superb, especially on songs like “Scissor Tails.” This is definitely one of her ode’s to country-folk with the Johnny Cash flavor. Anne Lillis, the drummer for Samantha is a one of a kind as well. If there was an award for “Sexiest Drummer Ever”, she would win hands down. Not only does she have the look, the girl can really play. So if you take the sultry style away and just listen to her, she still ranks up top for being a solid drummer.
As the night went on, we heard round 2 start with the storming outside; it was a down-poor for a short time. Samantha said “I guess I’ll just have to play until it stops raining.” She went on to play fan favorites like “Up on the Table”, “Sante Fe” and “Two-Sidedness”. At one point, Samantha told us that as a lady, she doesn’t answer her cell phone in the restroom; that it’s just not lady-like to do so. But she said this time, she just had to because it was a friend who had been in Canada for about a month and couldn’t risk missing the call. After she told this story, she said “so I apologized to the girl who was in the stall next to me.” We all thought this was pretty hilarious for her to tell a story like that.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
Samantha Crain is one of the most organic, true musician-songwriters of our time. There has been no one to sound exactly like her before, and there will be none to mimic her after. If you have never listened to her or caught one of her shows, I encourage you to do so. You will never be the same.