Denver’s Lion’s Lair lives up to it's name. The bar is truly a hidden den located on Colfax where wild animals come to retreat from the daily grind. It is quite the quirky atmosphere. The walls are coated with bands stickers, and the windows draped with animal print curtains. Random photos of Moe from the Simpsons are scattered about the place.
Lion’s Lair was the perfect spot for artist Samantha Crain to perform in Denver last week. Crain's soft spoken and humorous stage banter, mixed with her raspy, velvet-textured voice seemed to seep into the atmosphere of the Lair.
Crain was born and raised in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She self-recorded her first EP, The Confiscation. Her latest record Under Branch & Thorn & Tree was recorded at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco. Crain’s voice can’t be described as a comparison to other artists; she has a sound of her own, and man, is it a stunning one. It’s hard not to fall in love with her honest lyrics and rhythmic song writing. Her performance and songs encompass it all: sorrow, wisdom, playfulness, desire, and intimacy. Four songs into her show, I felt like I was sitting down at a table with a good friend catching up and hearing their stories.
“You know the way I get/When I haven’t had my coffee yet/Well that’s the way I also get/When I can’t get through/It’s been a month or months too” - Lyrics from Crain’s “Santa Fe” on 'You (Understood)'
Crain’s pure authenticity carved a spot in my heart. Early on in her set, she introduced a new song titled, “Antiseptic Greeting”, which expressed the realities of her struggles with resting bitch face. I chuckled to myself being a survivor of RBF myself. Samantha is no doubt a talented storyteller mixing light and dark human emotions and leaving her audience raw, nourished, and validated. Ultimately, she created a comfortable and inclusive mood through and through.
If you are looking for an artist to accompany a long solo road trip or a night spent in your own den, I would highly recommended throwing on some Samantha Crain.
Check out one of my favorite Crain tunes, “Paint”:
All photos per the author for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.