Kill or be Kind
Rounder Records/Concord Music Group
Samantha Fish got her introduction to the blues at Kansas City’s Knuckleheads Saloon. Influenced by Sheryl Crow, and Stevie Ray Vaughan she learned to play guitar. In 2011 she joined Dani Wilde and Cassie Taylor to become “Girls with Guitars” and tour Europe as that year’s Blues Caravan. She also released her solo debut “Runaway” produced by Mike Zito and took home the 2012 Blues Music Award for Best New Artist. In 2017 she released both “Chills and Fever” and “Belle of the West” and won another BMA as the 2018 Contemporary Blues Female Artist of The Year.
This is Fish’s sixth solo album and first for Rounder Records. “I think I’ve grown as a performer and as a player, I’ve become more respectful of …conveying a simple melody that people can really connect to…strong messages from the heart, that’s what I really set out for”. So Fish sought out high profile quality songwriters to collaborate with “It’s good to work with others, because it makes you stretch”. Fish also knows it’s important to work with a great producer and today Rounder Records, a label known for its catalogue of blues, bluegrass and roots music, is led by the Grammy winning Scott Billington. The album was recorded at the Royal Studios in Memphis, and The Rhythm Shack in New Orleans; and mixed by Steve Reynolds.
The core band includes Fish, guitar and vocals; Rick Steff, Hammond B-3; Austin Clements, bass; and Doug Belote, drums. Many of the tracks include the fabulous horn section of Jim Spake, saxophones; and Tom Clary, trumpet. Also utilized is Andiriu Yanovski, synthesizer; and background singers Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph and Kayla Jasmine.
The first two songs released for airplay include “Watch It Die” co-written by Fish with Patrick Sweaney; and “Love Letters” written with Jim McCormick. Fish states the latter introduces the album’s central theme, “the allure of losing yourself in love” and the dangers of doing so. “Try Not to Fall in Love with You” continues that theme with special guest the Reverend Charles Hodges on organ. The other songs currently receiving radio play are the title track also written with McCormick; and Fish’s own “Bulletproof” with the lyric “you got me trained to sit on a stage, not show my rage for you, you got my love, it’s not enough, I need to prove it to you…I can change oh tell me how, I’d turn this on you, I’d turn it on you, turn it on you, oh but you’re bulletproof.”
Fish works well with her producers and does so again with Billington who was able to push her enough for her to take some risk. Her ability to let go of control is the key to her success. “This is me coming through, my personality…I want to reach over genre lines and get out to as many people as possible…and it’s all me…I want to give something that stands apart and yet is timeless”. “Ohh, baby you decide, I can kill or be kind.”