Samantha Crain Under Branch And Thorn And Tree on 200g LP + Download
“I don’t write protest songs in the traditional sense,” Samantha Crain says, talking about the songs on her new album, Under Branch & Thorn & Tree. “But I’m always listening to the voices of people around me. These stories are told from the perspective of the underdog, the 99% of us that are working people. They might not be literal protest songs, but the lives of the people within these songs speak at the same volume if you listen.”
Crain’s songs are full of expansive melodies that veer off in unpredictable directions, with lyrics that explore conflicting emotions with uncommon insight and compassion. She has a jazz singer’s phrasing, often breaking words into rhythmic fragments that land before and after the beat, stretching syllables or adding grace notes to uncover hidden nuances in her lyrics.
Under Branch & Thorn & Tree was recorded at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco, with John Vanderslice (The Mountain Goats, Spoon), who also helmed last year’s Kid Face. “We recorded straight to two-inch tape on a Studer 24-track machine and mixed down to 1/2-inch tape on an Ampex machine. The pre-amps were tube and we never used a computer. Our effects were done manually through tape looping and manipulation. Most of the arrangements happened in the moment, as we recorded. My guitar and vocals are all first or second takes.”
These intimate vignettes are marked by Crain’s careful attention to the tiny details that often escape us, supported by the subtle musical settings she crafted with Vanderslice and the backing musicians.
• 200 gram vinyl
• Mastered by Bernie Grundman
• 100% analog recording / masters transferred directly from tape to lathe
• Pressed at Quality Record Pressings