Grief and trauma can cause enormous pain that will affect the rest of your life. It can change you as a person and make you weaker or stronger. Samantha Crain has taken control of her life and tackled her grief head on with her new release, A Small Death. Her sixth studio LP will leave you in awe of her talents and inspired by her journey. Crain explains , “I didn’t completely die, but I feel like I died a little bit and that allowed me this new beginning…What I was trying to capture with this record, really, was a sense of reconstruction.” 

The Oklahoma-based artist starts off strong with “An Echo” which highlights complex relationships and makes you feel the pain behind her voice. If one track had to sum up the feeling of the record, “An Echo” takes the cake. Not every song is as serious, “Pastime” is a look into Crain’s start of a new romance, but learning more about herself in the process.  She took to Instagram to speak about the track, saying, “when I was writing this song I felt like I was getting to know myself from scratch, peeling off a costume that I was put in as a child and allowing myself, for the first time, to dress myself and fully lean into my curiosities and sensitivities.” This theme seems to follow through to most of the tracks, experimenting and digging deep into her soul. Raw emotions are present in “High Horse” with the feelings of fleeting memories. In the lyrics, “I know the shape of the great heartache / and I know the weight of a big mistake / and I know the feel of a magical moment,” you can hear the strain accompanied by the steel guitar. 

Her alluring vocals pull you in on tracks like “Reunion” and “Joey”. They are soft, yet powerful, similar to artist Brandi Carlile, who she has previously toured with. Crain, who is of Indigenous descent, connects with her roots in “When We Remain”. The track is sung in Choctaw and accompanied by a light instrumental. “Little Bits” closes the record out, by being herself and owning who she is. It’s short, upbeat and to the point, almost as if she was wrapping everything up with a red bow on top. A Small Death follows the 2017 release of You Had Me At Goodbye and is the first release under Real Kind Records, founded by UK-based artist Lucy Rose. It is the beginning of a new chapter for Crain and her music, something that is uniquely her and her experiences.