Don’t let this one slip away–catch Samantha Fish Tuesday at District Live
By Josephine Johnson
Blues rocker, Samantha Fish, brings her road-tested, hard-hitting sound to Savannah, Tuesday, January 31. With vocals landing somewhere between Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, and guitar chops tough enough to hang with Joe Bonamassa and Kenny Wayne Sheppard (yep, they’re all friends!), Samantha Fish is an artist you absolutely must catch downtown this Tuesday at District Live.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., Fish got her start in music as a teen taking drum lessons. But when she picked up a guitar at age 15, it opened a new world of musicality and expression.
“I’m mostly self-taught,” said Fish. “Repetition and discipline, sitting down with different records and picking out the leads from different guitar players focused what I played and how I listened. I try to make the guitar as expressive as I can as another voice—make it conversational and melodic. On the road now, I’ll toy with a lick each night refining it until it’s exactly what I want to execute. Time and repetition, not being afraid to experiment, these are key to solid guitar playing.”
And Fish has solidly put in the time. After picking apart the riffs of Keith Richards, Mike Campbell, B.B. King, and R.L. Burnside, she got closer to the essence of blues and rock expression, priming her for her early recordings. Fish’s first album “Live Bait,” released 2009, landed her a label deal with German-based Ruf Records. With Ruf she released five solo albums and two collaborations, “Girls with Guitars.”
Her career gained more traction in 2013 with the very blues-centric release of “Black Wind Howlin.” The album catapulted her to the front of the line as a desirable, consistently on-fire live act to book in the U.S. and abroad.
“We’ve been out on the road touring aggressively now for ten years,” reflected Fish. “I haven’t sat down and counted up the dates, but someone told me we’re playing 180 to 190 shows a year. We’re in the U.S., Europe and Australia regularly. But it’s my happy place, that intensity. We, the band and I, bring the energy every night. This is the first time playing Savannah, and it’s gonna be a fun show.”
“Faster” her most recent album, released 2021, testifies to the powerhouse Fish is. It’s her second release on Rounder Records, home to top-shelf artists like Alison Krauss, Irma Thomas, Billy Strings and more. For this record she teamed up with producer Martin Kierszenbaum, who’s worked with Sting, Lady Gaga and Cheryl Crow. The goal was to produce a project “to expand into different genres while retaining the roots I’d built in the blues world.”
The collection of songs successfully emerges as an empowering romp encouraging stepping up and taking charge in one’s life. Fish’s guitar solos and riffs sizzle, while her writing ranges from sexy-sassy (“All Ice No Whiskey”) to pensive and introspective (“Crowd Control”). Her vocals range from pop brightness to blues-sultry and soulful. Overall, the record is smart, tasteful and exceptionally produced.
At Tuesday’s performance Americana and blues-infused singer songwriter, Eric Johanson, opens the evening. Fish and Johanson have known each other for years and teamed up for a string of dates in the South East and Appalachia. As for Fish, she plans to draw from her extensive catalog and maybe pull out a tune or two from her upcoming release on Rounder Records.
“I have a new record coming out in May called “Death Wish Blues,” said Fish. “It’s a record of mostly duets with Jesse Dayton, a great singer and guitarist out of Austin. These duets are anything but sweet and tender. They’re straightforward rock tunes and a lot fun. And that’s what we’re bringing to Savannah, straightforward, high-energy blues and rock and roll and a lot of fun.”
If you go:
What: Samantha Fish
Where: District Live, 516 W River Street, Savannah, 31401
When: Tuesday, January 31, 8:00 pm
Samantha Fish, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Joe Bonamassa onstage 2019
(Samantha’s solo starts at 2:35)
Samantha Fish “Crowd Control” https://youtu.be/RJ-l52EbTNw
Samantha Fish “All Ice No Whiskey” https://youtu.be/rkjhG644XcU