Samantha Fish and Her Guitar Wow at the Blue Note in Columbia
You may or may not know of Kansas City's Samantha Fish. If you follow the Kansas City music or blues scene there's a good chance you do. Those of us not as plugged into the scene (or new to the area) may have heard her name or know her reputation, but may not be all that familiar with her music.
My radio buddy, and Kansas City and St. Louis radio icon, Randy Raley has raved about Samantha Fish for years. When my favorite record store opened and stocked some new indie music and had Fish's albums "Chill's & Fever" and "Kill or Be Kind" available, my buddy Mike told me she was good and said I should get the albums. I didn't.
He lent me his copy of "Kill or Be Kind" which impressed me and made me want to hear more. Then came Fish's new album, "Faster". She's mainly known as a blues musician although her performances and music really encompass multiple genres including rock, country, bluegrass, and ballads.
I personally wouldn't categorize "Faster" as a blues album. Oh, the blues is there, it's evident in the riffs and Fish's playing, but it rocks much harder, is energetic, and has somewhat of a new rock feel with a power-pop edge. (The album version is less bluesy and more produced than the above video.) A real critic could probably give you a better description. I'll just say when I heard it I loved it. It got me excited to hear more. And to see her live. So last night I saw her with some friends at the Blue Note in Columbia. And the show did not disappoint.
Her band is tight. She can shred, she plays a mean slide, and she can slow it down for those slow burn blues tunes and it all sounds great.
Her setlist was put together in such a way that it builds, builds, builds. Hit a climax. And then there’d be a song or two so everyone could catch their breath. Sonically it was a wall of sound. Don’t know if it was the room or by design. But the sound design seemed similar to me like the production on her album “Faster” and just smacks you in the face. In a good way.
It’s a loud show too, loud like a Cracker show would have been in the early 90s.
Everything about Samantha Fish and her music lives up to what my KC area friends, who have known about her way longer than I have, have told me.
Her opener, King Solomon Hicks is really great too. If you like great contemporary traditional blues you’ll like his stuff. And it’s very friendly for the casual blues listener too. Hicks and Fish played an encore together at the end of the show that is the perfect climax to the night's music. I mentioned she's crafted her show so it builds energy, drops back, and builds energy again. Her encore performance with Hicks does the same culminating in a guitar drop moment that ends the show.
I hesitate to associate Samantha Fish with a particular genre or artist because I don't want you to be disappointed if you disagree. Yet, in a general sense if you enjoy Miranda Lambert, Elle King, southern rock like the Allman Brothers, or Skynyrd, or even Classic Rock or Power Pop I think you'll enjoy Fish's music or at least some of it.
And get tickets the next time she plays Columbia or Kansas City. If you're a fan of guitarists who can handle their axe, Samantha Fish won't disappoint.