Now on her fifth album, Samantha Crain is the kind of artist whose brilliant lyrics are usually front and centre of her songs, and those lyrics are invariably one of her strengths. Yet it’s a song sung in her native Choktaw language, its meaning unknown to most ears, which is one of the most moving on this new record. ‘Red Sky, Blue Mountain’ is a sparse voice and guitar track suffused with a threatening, urgent atmosphere.
Crain’s vocal diversity is then displayed to touching effect in the Regina Spektor-esque inflections of ‘Oh Dear Louis’, and another such moment comes in the yearning, cracked vocal of ‘Wise One’, a sassy, swinging effort pinned to a thumping bass drum. Then there’s the beautiful, classic dark balladry of ‘When The Roses Bloom Again’ and the lightly jazzy, sweeping piano and violin in ‘Loneliest Handsome Man’. ‘You Had Me At Goodbye’ is a pretty much continuously interesting record, but those moments that really hook you in and spark the soul are ultimately sporadic.