• Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Live Review: Samantha Crain & Hamish Hawk are charming with witty and wistful songs

ByJamie Begg

Jun 7, 2019
Samantha Crain opening for Ha Ha Tonka at the Beachland Tavern in Cleveland, OH http://www.thezenderagenda.com

Taking the stage in the rather lovely ‘Main Hall’ at Summerhall, adorned with its red-velvet curtains, were two captivating singer-songwriters. Whilst different in style, Hamish Hawk and Samantha Crain share an enviable skill for crafting lyrics and melody. Both entertained a seated audience of all ages with endearing charm and skill, warming an already mild April night.

Hamish Hawk’s opening set immediately demands our attention with typically quick-firing honesty and bold guitar playing in a vibrant rendition of ‘Nomad.’ Hawk is a local Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter and upcoming talent. With an already impressive body of work including two full-length albums, his latest EP Laziest River was released 3 May. The excellent single ‘Mudchute’ taken off the new record, with wonderful poise and meandering, promises for another fine set of songs.

Throughout his set, we are led up highs and down lows through Hawk’s colourful turns of phrase and accompanying melodies. In an almost comical manner, he delivers the catchy and self-deprecating ‘Dashing White Sergeant,’ with his jerky boogieing bringing irresistible grins in the audience; “She makes you feel like you’re really unworthy of her company, your friends and TV.” In quieter moments, tracks like ‘Catherine Opens a Window’ showcase a beautiful poignancy, which engulf the room and excel in their paired back acoustic performance.  

Samantha Crain follows with a soothing start to her set and reveals an astounding voice. Having travelled from the USA she’s currently on a UK and European tour, with a number of other shared gigs alongside local musicians. Crain is a Chocktaw singer-songwriter, producer and poet from Oklahoma, with an array of albums and singles, who has toured with the likes of First Aid Kit, The Mountain Goats and Neutral Milk Hotel; she’s a hidden gem.

With a similar emotionally charged style to Hawk, the gig’s second half is filled with another collection of engaging songs and stories. ‘Kathleen,’ the second in her set, is a catchy slow-burner with a gritty guitar riff as her voice soars beautifully, her singing being truly captivating. Her painfully honest ‘When You Come Back’ asks an ex to “bring back my heart” in a pleasingly simply crafted break-up song. Other highlights were her undeniable banger of a tune ‘Sante Fe’ and her humorous and relatable ‘Antiseptic Greeting’ which describes a series of socially awkward encounters with that person that you don’t really know but probably have on Facebook, and awkwardly avoid eye contact with.

All in all, it was a wholesome night of music and song, alive with the wit and talent of two skilled musicians whose music deserves much more attention.


Image: The Zender Agenda via Wikimedia Commons

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