Samantha Crain and Dylan Stewart
Feeling your body pulled into her voice, merging and transfixed as she cradled a tone till it became a whisper, brushing against your memories, lulling you into a hypnotizing lullybye, then sarcastically (although witty-- NOT the mean spirited kind) she impishly saunters her song across the stage, declaring your musical desires as her own.
I imagine Janis Joplin, Emmy Lou Harris, Natalie Maines, Carol King, Norah Jones, Adele, Bonny Rait and Sheryl Crowe all spin through the melodies she wrestles, claiming any note range. She has a mastery in both her ability and her unique sense of self.
And she's damn likeable. She has this throaty sound that swirls into honey when you least expect it. Her stories both expose her vulnerabilities and yet are underlined with a very stable foundation of "I like exactly who and how I am, ladies and gentlemen, so enjoy". She is refreshing.
If you wonder who SHE is, her name is Samantha Crain; Shawnee, Oklahoma native, 26 years old, but man internally, she is timeless. She is a past and present merging into what can really be a platform of kindness, talent, hope, and did I mention, nice? Like, really humble kind of nice? Wearing an indigo blue weave on creame colored khafka-style tunic of vintage origin, her long brown hair cupping her heart shaped face, and her Cover Girl worthy burgundy lips, she swayed and tapped, accompanying herself on guitar.
In between songs she entertained us, telling stories about how this song came about, or road tales about having to explain to folks in other states what our state bird is...and now I am not going to tell you because folks, you should know this! At times her voice sounded so nymph like; light and musical, barely leaving the realm of singing even as she spoke. Her prowess on guitar left me imagining she and other Oklahoma resident, Jewel, possibly playing together in a small outdoor concert series. Hey, I can wish. Good music, the perfect evening, a bottle of wine, a picnic, and some friends, maybe a bonfire, that would be the perfect concert. Her latest album "Kid Face", is available in classic vinyl record or the more modern CD. You get 3 MP3 releases with your purchase. Also, I would like to help Miss Crain in clarifying some confusion; none of the songs she has written were inspired by Taylor Swift, period. And after listening to her both sing and chat with audience, I feel this clarification is justified.
Tonight, I was stunned. Because, here, in my hometown, I had live, diverse, unique music not even a week since our last concert! And the music scene in Ardmore is really expanding, but I realize this has been due to the efforts from alot of folks working hard to create this really emerging road and designation of Ardmore as a "place to play" name in the music community. We have some very cool people doing some very cool things musically. (Here a shout out to Two Frogs', Aubrey Harris who has long since been an advocate for bringing music to Ardmore and developing the music scene, and for allowing me and the women of my generation who totally loved "Every Rose has its Thorn" the chance to feel fifteen and hormonal again!)
Tonight though, Samantha Crain played at the Goddard Center, Tyler Blanco coordinated and promoted this event. Ironically, Tyler, fifteen years ago was a kid in a class I helped with at Ardmore Middle School. Who would have guessed he would have grown into a passionate music lover, who both plays and promotes a diverse range of seriously quality folksy, sixties-ish, appalachian, bluesey mixed type musicians. He has an ear for what speaks directly to the soul of music and the drive and committment to bring this type of music scene to our hometown.
For those who missed the concert, wow...I am so sad for you. You seriously missed an awesome night of two talents. Dylan Stewart, of Ringling, held his own opening for Samantha; his whiskey glass voice riding rails of tracks, moving from guitar to harmonica, telling tales in his songs, making summers heat come alive in your memory. I have written about Dylan before, so let me simply say, each time I hear him, I want to buy another CD. I'm telling you...Bob Dylan mixed with a lil Robert Earl King, shaken not stirred.
One more reason to invest in education, keeping local Ardmore talent developing and growing adds to the quality of life for everyone. One more reason I support the arts in schools as necessary not optional. As necessary as math. Today at three, at the Garden Center on Stanley St., right across from Lincoln School, there is an educational meeting about the Bond Issue supporting our Ardmore City Schools and our students by voting yes, hope you try and make it.
Just one more adventure, in our hometown.