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Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers

Songs in the Night

(Ramseur; US: 28 Apr 2009; UK: 28 Apr 2009)

The standout track on Oklahoma native Samantha Crain’s debut disc mixes the spirit of J.D. Salinger with the ghosts of the singer’s Choctaw heritage. “It’s a perfect day for dying,” Crain warbles on the chorus of “Bananafish Revolution”, mixing the suicidal narrator of Salinger’s short story with the mystical elements of Native American animism. The boldness with which she meshes disparate influences suggest a DIY punk sensibility, a fact borne out by the other brazen folk rock numbers that bare her heart on her sleeve while she spits in your eye. Crain plays her acoustic guitar more like a rhythm instrument than a lead to propel her band forward, and they return the favor by keeping the tempos tight. Still, it’s Crain’s rough-edged voice and her dark lyrics about unseen devils, mean hearts, and the things we never know that keep the listener enthralled and wondering about what’s going to happen next.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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