Though diminutive in stature, Crain nevertheless carries a huge voice, complete with deep, warm, dripping notes of a magnitude capable of overpowering all other sounds around her. Her voice is not just skillful and pleasant, but also one that has repeatedly evoked apt comparisons to artists such as Beth Orton, Joanna Newsom, Lucinda Williams and even Joni Mitchell.
Though only 26 years old -- she's "almost young this year / now that [she's] older" -- Crain seems to have packed into her short lifetime a wealth of experiences. Crain recently released her third full-length album, "Kid Face," a follow-up to the critically-praised 2011 album "You (Understood)."
But even more remarkable is the depth of wisdom she seems to have nurtured in her few years: "I don't wanna be a cynic / it's much too soon for that." Indeed, it's hard to imagine such a young soul having anything close to "a thousand dreams" to denounce in order to free herself "from his cool eyes," much less that in her few years she has "become reborn to [her] surprise."
From wherever this sophistication and foresight was birthed, and from whatever depths this voice emerges, Samantha Crain isn't your average coffee shop background noise, and her songs aren't likely to drop out of rotation as fast as they seem to have appeared. Her take on twangy Americana –- notwithstanding the very worthy musical comparisons –- is not mere mimicry. Maybe it is just the kid in her that lends this freshness, and maybe she was just plain wrong when she sang "my fortunes never made sense / so I assumed neither did I."
All photos by Caroline Philippone.