Primal by Samantha Church
The daily album today comes from Samantha Church, a singer/songwriter turned street performer turned recording artist. Originally out of Charleston, Church hit the streets (and subways) in Chicago looking for something musically real, a closer connection between artist and audience. The album itself is a testament to that connection – besides a bit of folk instrumentation, it’s really just Church putting herself out there.
“Sit and Wait” kicks off the album in soulful folk rock splendor. After a moving acapella intro, the banjo and percussion jump in, and we’re off. The album has a very grungy, garage band feel to it, which is a handy match for Church’s sultry, edgy voice and the lo-fi instrumentation. For a track that muses about sitting and waiting, there is a lot of implied and musical motion. “Can’t Complain” follows, a bluesy track with a hip hop beat that snubs its nose a bit at the prototypical blues song by acknowledging problems for what they are and not being run under by them. If Alanis had made music in subways, she might sound a bit like Church does on Primal.
“I’ll Find You” has that prying detective vibe to it, leaving no stone unturned and all. It’s intriguing that Church’s roots lie in the eastern half of the country, because there is a lot of the southwest in this album. The finger picking on tracks like “Succumb” is hypnotizing and easy to get lost in. There is a definite trance-inducing to this track, in particular, like Church is putting one over on you while you listen. Perhaps this is a skill she picked up as a street performer….
Church’s vocals on “Real Deal Woman” are impressive, fusing elements of country, folk, pop and rhythm and blues into quite the sales pitch for the intense character Church paints a vivid picture of. “You Hurt Me So” slows things way down, to a jazz lounge tempo, but things pick up quickly with “The Clock”, another racer of a track.
Overall, Primal is just that, a very nitty-gritty take on singer/songwriter folk and blues music. Minimalistic, soulful, and real; Church has managed to take what she’s learned as a street performer and mesh that together with her natural talent for composition and interpretation. Looking for something with a bit more edge to it than other female acoustic artists? Check it out here.