Samantha Crain – “When you come back, can you bring my heart” [review] Amnesia in SF (Jan 19, 2016)

She may be a kid at face (check out her 2013 album, Kid Face) and kid at heart (loved her anecdotes and cute giggles), but surely is a goddess of soul-tinged folk. Samantha Crain‘s (Ramseur Record)  performance last night at Amnesia was simply stunning and was definitely the BEST TUESDAY NIGHT I’ve had in a long time. It had been nearly two years since I last saw her perform in London at the Servant’s Jazz Quarters, and forgot how much I swoon for her songwriting. She gave us a healthy serving of new tracks (Elk City, Kathleen, Outside the Pale, When You Come Back, If I Had a Dollar) from her most recent album, Under Branch & Thorn & Tree, as well as some oldie but goodies (For the Miner, Churchill, Lions, The Dam song, Santa Fe, Kid Song), and even a fresh new gem (The Loneliest Handsome Man) that she hasn’t yet released. She also surprised us with a Woodie Guthrie tune and an EPIC ENCORE cover of Radiohead‘s ‘Creep.’ I’m so glad to hear that she is recording her next album in Oakland and that she’ll be back soon! We’ll certainly make sure to have more cover song requests lined up to keep tradition with those epic encores. ????????????

(See below for more details and videos from the show)


She may have a “kid face,” but she’s got a seasoned soul. Love the lyrics in this one.

“Brave it all to you can’t find no way I found, I found the way
saving all you feel through your kid face
I found, I found the way.”

Samantha introduced this song as one she wrote while en route on a move out to Santa Fe. She has us all laughing out loud when proceeding to explain that she needed to get out of her small town in Oklahoma — Wichita — after she spotted a newspaper headline about a “man dying of an atomic wedgie.” That was the last draw. Haha.

“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
Everyone famous is gone (slayed)
So I’m headin’ back to Santa
I look back then I look away.”

Samantha had us laughing once again when she mentioned that one of her songs “for some strange reason” did “really well on the charts in Manitoba, Canada (very small farm town) — the cows must have loved it,” and that she felt she needed to give a shout-out to Manitoba one of her songs. We all proceeded to rally behind her when she called out “Manitoba” in this one — I’m a huge fan and can definitely relate to the nomad-themed chorus of  “everyone wants to go somewhere, everyone wants to go all the time.” We also all “moooooo”-ed (like a cow) in favor of this one:

She then introduced this song as one inspired by a woman who proceeded to tell Samantha “her whole life story” at a bar, “complaining that she could not get out of Elk City because of a guy she fell in love with after he fixed her washing machine.” Haha. Even though the initial connection via the washing machine (“if you know what I mean”) was kind of funny, Samantha felt for this woman and wrote this beautiful song from her perspective.

Then came one of the awesome gems from her newest album.

Soon after, Samantha introduced this next song by first asking the audience if anyone ever had their heart broken, and then quickly followed with some witty banter when only one woman initially raised her hand. She then proceeded to tell us the story about the man who once broke her heart and then followed with this gorgeous, heart-wrenching gem. MY HEART was surely broken when hearing her belt out, “when you come back, could you bring my heart.”  <3

We were lucky to then hear a beautiful new song that she hasn’t yet played before. She def hammers on our heartstrings with this one.

Samantha said that this next song was inspired by a message that she once got in a fortune cookie: “teaspoon in the morning, a tablespoon at night.” Haha. The way she cleverly weaves this into such a lyrically-lavish song is very impressive. I love the line, “so blame me for what I cannot finish..my whole life I thought I was an opportunist, but I’m noooooot.” SOOOOOOOOOO good.

Samantha introduced Kathleen as a song about “friends that don’t bail on you…non-shitty friends.” Her friend Kathleen is one of them.

One of my favorites from her earlier album, You.

A gem from her earlier album, Kid Face.

Someone then called out a request for this one and Samantha said she was unsure if she’d be able to remember it (very old song). Even though I gave her a lil’ “go got this” shout-out, she surely didn’t need it!

Another request that we are glad she played!

Before sending us home happy and fulfilled her awesome, non-skimpy set, Samantha asks, “Can I just play this one song for you before y’all go home?” (as if we would have said no!) … “I was rocking out to this one as I was driving across the bridge from Oakland, and I thought we could all sing it together.” I love her lil’ grin as began playing the intro to the song and says, “oh yeah, we know THAT chord change right?” from the crowd’s initial ‘aaaaaah’ reaction. We certainly all DID know the song and certainly did not hesitate to BELT ALONG with her to close out this epic encore.  🙂

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