Erin Recommends: “Santa Fe” by Samantha Crain

The paradox of loving an artist, wanting to keep them to yourself like a polished stone in your pocket and posting a photograph on social media to share with the world is real. Samantha Crain is that rock for me.

I first saw her in 2009, Bend, Oregon at McMenamins Old St. Francis School with her band the Midnight Shivers. I hadn’t heard of her. I was on vacation and she was playing where I was staying. Why not? It was a free show.

The tiny Oklahoma, Choctaw native and winner of 2 NAMMYs (Native American Music Awards) began her set. The hair on my arms waved liked wheat in the wind. I knew I was watching something special. Dumb luck is what I do well.

Spellbound, I had her sign a CD after the show bumbling inanely about how much I loved it and her cover of Beck’s “Lost Cause”. I was an instant fan girl. Since then she has continued to put out solo albums that are lyrically exquisite, layered in self-effacement and humor.

The song “Santa Fefrom her 2010 release You (Understood)is a gorgeous example of what she does. She collaborates with the Michigan band Frontier Ruckus to deliver longing and hard decisions, regret about the life we choose.

I’m struck by the lines: “… And I don’t live my time like I should But they’re killin’ off my childhood Taking all my heroes babe One by one….” Stops me mid-step every time.

She’s an amazing artist. While I want to hold her in my pocket as my secret, I am compelled to shout out to the world, “Look at what I found.”

Song recommendation by Erin L. Cork