Well, after a couple of weeks away from the playlist playground thanks to a couple of nice catering events, summer is in full swing and by golly, it’s time for some summertime blues. So how are the blues doing today? Well, thanks to young forces of nature like Samantha Fish, just fine thank you very much. The pride of Kansas City, Missouri, Fish started out playing drums, but when she was 15 she switched to the guitar. Fish frequently went to the Knuckleheads Saloon in KC to hear touring blues artists. After turning 18, she often joined in with the singers and bands who were performing at Knuckleheads. And she was off to the races. The New York Times called Fish “an impressive blues guitarist who sings with sweet power” and “one of the genre’s most promising young talents.” Her hometown paper The Kansas City Star noted, “Samantha Fish has kicked down the door of the patriarchal blues club” and observed that the young artist “displays more imagination and creativity than some blues veterans exhibit over the course of their careers.”
After a couple of early collaboration albums, Fish recorded Runaway with the help of her mentor Mike Zito. The album won the 2012 Blues Music Award for Best New Artist. During the following summer of 2013, Fish was called up on stage to play with a skeptical Buddy Guy who was so impressed with her playing on the guitar, he declared with a beaming smile to his audience, “When this kind of shit happens, I’ll play all night!” And a lot of other blues legends have followed suit since then. Samantha has floated from blues rock to roots rock and occasionally has dropped in some beautiful alt-country ballads. She’s going on the summer festival tour this year, and shouldn’t be missed if you get the chance to see her play.
Fish continues to maintain the same hardworking, prolific approach that’s carried her this far. “I think I’ve always had that,” she says. “Music is my life, so what other choice do I have but to go out and make music? We do tour quite a bit, and maybe it’s kind of crazy to put out two dramatically different albums in one year. But I like to work hard. This is who I am and this is what I do, and when I’m writing and recording and touring is when I feel the most like myself. And now we have a moment where people are paying attention, so I have to make the most of it. I feel like I have a lot to say right now, so why not say it?”
As far as Samantha Fish is concerned, her musical future is an open road. “I’m never gonna be a traditional blues artist, because that’s not who I am,” she asserts. “But it’s all the blues for me. When Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf came out, what they were doing didn’t sound like anything that had been done in blues before. You’ve gotta keep that kind of fire and spirit. I’m never gonna do Muddy Waters better than Muddy Waters, so I have to be who I am and find my best voice.” Sounds like blues wisdom to me. Here’s a ten-set of Samantha’s best, followed by her outstanding YouTube video performance of Gone for Good at the 2016 Telluride Blues and Brews Festival. Have a happy bluesy Friday everyone. It’s the eve of my 65th birthday, and I’m gonna take Buddy’s advice and play this shit all night.