Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton The Stardust Sessions
The Stardust Sessions
Rounder Records (digital)
A massive front of low-pressure dustbowl country crashed head-on into high-pressure blues and rock ‘n’ roll when Austin’s Jesse Dayton and Kansas City’s Samantha Fish hit a New Orleans studio together. Their hellacious storm of a debut album dubbed Death Wish Blues drops this spring and features a slate of 12 new original songs produced by Jon Spencer. In the meantime, fans of great American music can get prepped by cutting a rug over and over with these three covers, recorded live off the studio floor as they were shutting down the album’s session.
What may seem on the surface an odd pairing given Dayton’s early roots in Nudie suits, and Fish’s guitar-based blues/rock/pop and hopped-up sexiness, isn’t. They click like the snaps on their matching black leather because both embrace change and peculiarity and share a real love for real rock and roll.
To a live wire firing of an auto engine, Fish and Dayton jumpstart the set with “Brand New Cadillac,” whipping their guitars Peter Gunn theme style and singing as if their lives depended on it. Bassist Austin Clements and drummer Mike Dillon provide the robust carry to this obscure rockabilly rave-up, last brought to the fore by The Clash. This one licks it, somewhere on the scale between the Stray Cats and the Cramps. Magic Sam’s “Feelin’ Good” kicks in next, recalling the heyday of The Blasters, the stabbing, stinging guitar alive as if raw, jumpy nerves were audible. Closing with a tender duet on Townes Van Zandt’s “I’ll Be Here in the Morning” was smart, the focus squarely on beautiful harmony singing and acoustic guitar picking in the context of incredible country songcraft.
Three songs, ten minutes, and pure fire power and grace prove irresistible, and herald big things to come.
Tom Clarke for MAS