Samantha Crain’s bold ("Never Going Back") and buoyant ("Paint") "Kid Face" bristles with infinite motion. The Oklahoma native supports her seamless new collection Sunday at Scoot Inn.
"I opened for William Elliott Whitmore last time I was in Austin," Crain says. "I had such an inviting crowd (at Mohawk) and people were super energetic and attentive. It was kind of perfect and I was dead set to make it back to Austin."
American-Statesman: Explain how ‘Kid Face’ took shape.
Samantha Crain: They’re all new songs. I don’t ever really write leftover songs (laughs). Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who will write 20 or 30 songs and then picks from that. I have 11 songs and put them on the album (laughs).
Does the album have a common lyrical theme?
I think there’s an overwhelming feel of movement. I wrote the album when I was doing a lot of touring and it’s my first one where I’ve written on the road. I’ve always had a problem collecting my thoughts on the road but I wrote this while touring.
Tell the story behind writing ‘Never Going Back.’
I’ve been joking that it’s my version of the Taylor Swift song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," a kiss off. It’s just about love and infatuation between two people and no matter how bad things get between the two of them they can’t ever seem to break it off. They’re repeating this incantation of "I’m never going back" and hope that they can eventually talk themselves into not getting back together.
How do the new songs represent your evolution as a songwriter?
I realized pretty early that they ended up being completely autobiographical, which is a new thing for me. I started my writing career as a fiction writer and even when I would write stories based on true events, I always had the inclination to add a little fictional dust to the top. I got kind of excited because I was branching out.
Will you write autobiographically from now on?
I’m sure it’ll be a little bit of both. I definitely didn’t push myself into this. It happened naturally. As I get older, I’m at the point where I’m more comfortable sharing without the smoke and mirrors to gloss over. I have a feeling they’re gonna be easier to perform because they’re something I can always remember back to.
Do you draw from any Texas songwriters?
Well, I’m a huge Townes Van Zandt fan and I love Willie Nelson as well. Actually, one of my new favorite songwriters named Robert Ellis is from Texas. I really, really love his "Photographs" album. Also, I like Hayes Carll a lot. He writes songs like I feel a country songwriter back in the ’70s would write. I like living in 2013 and hearing a new song come out and you’re like, "You know, this could’ve come out in 1970."
What do you take away from listening to Townes?
I started listening to him when I was 17 or 18, really emotional years. He was a funny and brash person, but really underneath that I think he was really fragile. Townes had this feeling that he was always about to break. I think for somebody who is awkwardly trying to figure herself out or trying to work through emotions, seeing somebody else deal (helped). I just connected with the honesty.