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Samantha Fish at Robin 2, Bilston

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event:
Blues star releases new album and tours Britain
Award-winning American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Samantha Fish will support the release of her new studio album with an eight-date UK tour, including a show at Bilston's Robin 2 on November 22, 2017. The 28-year-old releases Belle of the West on November 17 and the tour begins at The Stables in Milton Keynes on November 20.

Samantha Fish, Belle of the West, Robin 2 Bilston, Blues Rock, Girl Guitarist


Belle of the West is Samantha's fifth studio album and mixes original songs like American Dream, Blood in the Water, Need You More and Don't Say You Love Me with a trio of cover tunes - R.L. Burnside's Poor Black Mattie, Lillie Mae's Nearing Home and the Jumbo Matheus-penned title track.

"To me, this is a natural progression," Samantha notes. "It's a storytelling record by a girl who grew up in the Midwest. It's very personal. I really focused on the song writing and vocals, the melodies and emotion, and on bringing another dimension to what I do. I wasn't interested in shredding on guitar, although we ended up with a few heavier tracks. I love Mississippi Blues; there's something very soulful and very real about that style of music, so this was a chance to immerse myself in that."

Samantha recorded Belle of the West in the relaxed, rural creative atmosphere of the legendary Zebra Ranch Studios in the North Hills of Mississippi with producer Luther Dickinson (of North Mississippi All-Stars fame), with whom she worked on her 2015 album, Wild Heart.

Samantha Fish, Belle of the West, Robin 2 Bilston, Blues Rock, Girl Guitarist
Relaxed: Samantha Fish (pic: Alysse Gafkjen)

"I wanted to do this acoustic-electric record, and tap into the style and swagger of Mississippi," she states, adding: "Any time you dive into another place, another vibe and a new group of people, you're challenging yourself to grow musically. I felt very at home a Zebra Ranch, and I've known Luther for years, so it was a very comfortable situation. When you're making a record like this, it has to feel natural if you want people to respond to it.''

Growing up in a musical family in Kansas City, Missouri, Samantha became obsessed with music early on, taking up drums before switching to guitar at the age of 15.

By the time she was 20, she had formed her own trio and self-released her first album. She soon caught the ear of the renowned blues label Ruf Records, which in 2011 released Girls with Guitars, which teamed her with fellow axe-women Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. The same year saw Ruf release Samantha's solo studio debut, Runaway. The album was named Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis.

Samantha Fish, Belle of the West, Robin 2 Bilston, Blues Rock, Girl Guitarist
Award winner: Samantha Fish (pic: Brian Rozman)


Black Wind Howlin' (2013) and Wild Heart (2015) followed, winning considerable critical acclaim and further establishing Samantha as a prominent presence in the blues community. Wild Heart reached the top slot on Billboard's blues chart.

Belle of the West follows on the heels of Samantha's March 2017 release, Chills & Fever, which achieved top 10 status in the Billboard Blues charts. Here, she expanded her stylistic arsenal to take on a set of lesser-known vintage R&B gems, with help from members of garage-soul stalwarts, The Detroit Cobras.

"Having these two very different records come out back to back this year has been really liberating," she says.

She also collaborated with blues-rock veterans Jimmy Hall and Reese Wynans on the 2013 project The Healers. The same year, she jammed onstage with blues icon Buddy Guy and guested on Devon Allman's album, Turquoise.

Samantha Fish, Belle of the West, Robin 2 Bilston, Blues Rock, Girl Guitarist
Hardworking: Samantha Fish (pic: Jerry Moran


She 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. 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. 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 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."

Samantha Fish November 2017 UK tour dates:

November 20: The Stables, Milton Keynes;
November 21: The Tunnels, Bristol;
November 22: Robin 2, Bilston;
November 23: The Brook, Southampton;
November 24: Borderline, London;
November 25: The Flowerpot, Derby;
November 26: Keighley Blues Live;
November 27: Stramash, Edinburgh.
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Why? American blues from award-winning musician
When: Touring from November 20, 2017
Phone: 01902 401 211
Where: Robin 2, Bilston, and touring
Cost: 16 Adv / 18 Door
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