Blues Artist Samantha Fish Branching Out

by Ed Peaco

Back in March, Samantha Fish came to Springfield and packed The Riff — a packing of people who had to make strategic plans for each creeping shuffle to squeeze between folks to go for drinks or bring them back.

This time around, at The Riff on Dec. 27, folks might have even more enthusiasm due to the recent release of her new album, “Kill or Be Kind.” Samantha said she’s pleased with her album in many ways, especially with the positive reception from fans.

“It was gratifying to be able to cross so many genre boundary lines,” she said. “To put out an album that greatly represents contemporary blues, but it’s still full of everything else. It’s a nice evolution for the genre. And it’s gratifying when you’re writing your own songs and recording them.”

Some of the quality of “Kill or Be Kind” may have come from her consultations with numerous songwriters, as well as expansion into other genres and experimentation with drum and synth effects.

On “Bulletproof,” fuzzed guitar and distorted voice make a robust impression on the first song of the album. “I wanted that to be my industrial North Mississippi meets a disco type song,” she said. “You get this interesting texture to play with.”

The relentless chugging freight train of “Watch It Die” is an empowering song:

Taker keeps taking, but the giver’s given out
Every word’s a brick, you’re building up a wall

Hip-and-heavy snare-drum effects on the title song and “Love Letters” present a contemporary feel.

The album also brings several classic R&B songs with horns, including “Try Not to Fall in Love with You” and “She Don’t Live Around Here.”

“Dream Girl” is a sad country ballad that sums up in this phrase, “I wish you’d take the rest of me.”

But there’s more than the variety and the quality of this recording. Samantha has a label, Wild Heart Records, and one of the artists on the label will be on the road with her.

Nicholas David, a pianist, singer and songwriter, has a regional following in Minnesota, and he feels the pull of the South. Other artists on the label are Charlie Wooton and Jonathon Long.

On another note, Samantha has a festival named for her: Samantha Fish Cigar Box Guitar Festival. If you’re in the Delta area, Jan. 15-18, check out this tradition.

The Riff
1900 W. Sunset St.
December 27
Doors 6:30, live music 7:30
Admission: $20 in advance, $25 at door, $45 reserve mezzanine online

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