Where: The Blue Note
When: 9 p.m. May 31
contact: 874-1944, thebluenote.com
Don’t let Samantha Fish’s charm fool you; she’s full of sass and has a strong blues-rock voice to boot. The Kansas City native spent her teen years listening to live music at Knuckleheads Saloon, a staple in her hometown.
“They had all kinds of artists come through the doors,” she says. “Contemporary, bluegrass, country music, all sorts of roots stuff. I really got into listening to the live performances, and that’s just where it rubbed off on me. When you see something right in front of you, that’s where the impact happens.”
At 18, Fish hit the music scene in Kansas City, where she had opportunities to play every night. These jam sessions led to regular bar gigs, including at Knuckleheads. She then hit the road to tour the nation and around Europe. No stranger to the nightlife, Fish has graced the stages of many venues and even performed at the Roots ‘N’ Blues ‘N’ BBQ Festival in 2013.
Her music draws parallels to the bluegrass great Tab Benoit, who she says “struck a chord with her,” and Mike Zito, who produced her latest album Black Wind Howlin’. The 12-track release is full of heavy guitar chords and cheeky vocals.
The third track, “Go to Hell,” starts out with a bass drum rhythm, followed by a hard-hitting riff. Then, Fish’s powerful voice comes in. “Oh, this ain’t my first rodeo; you hit yourself a dead end. Your voodoo eyes ain’t gonna cast a spell, so you can go to hell.”
But she slows things down for the final ballad, “Last September,” which is reminiscent of Sheryl Crow. Every track on the album was penned by Fish. Some songs will come out of nowhere, she says, and others take weeks to complete.
She carries around a notebook with snippets of lyrics in case she needs inspiration, and she has numerous recordings on her phone of her humming melodies she could find useful one day.
“Whatever works,” she says with a laugh. “Sometimes something will stick.”
Obviously, plenty of ideas have melded together. Black Wind Howlin’ follows her first solo album, Runaway, which was released in 2011. Runaway features the same blues and rock vibes, but her confidence soars on her latest release with stronger vocals, heavier instrumentation and a more in-your-face attitude.
“So much has happened in two years,” she says. “I feel like from the first record to the second record, we found a direction that was more me. It was closer to what I’d always envisioned me sounding like.”
Samantha Fish – War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)