Thursday Sep 28, 2023 7:00 pm
Versatile roots rock guitarist Samantha Fish impressed industry professionals as a teenager before scoring her first Billboard blues number one in her mid-twenties. That was with her third solo studio album, the Luther Dickinson-produced Wild at Heart (2015). She went to number one again with Belle of the West (2017) and Kill or Be Kind (2019). Her seventh studio long-player, 2021’s Faster, saw her backed by members of the Vandals and the Last Bandoleros.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Fish grew up in a musical family with a variety of genres, including a steady diet of classic rock radio. Her father played guitar and would sometimes jam with friends at their home. Young Samantha started out as a drummer but switched to guitar at the age of 15. As a teen, she would sneak into local blues landmark the Knuckleheads Saloon to hear touring musicians, and she began sitting in with them from time to time after she became legal at 18.
In 2009, Fish recorded the live album Live Bait as the Samantha Fish Blues Band, and the rock-edged guitar work brought her to the attention of Ruf Records. The label went on to feature her alongside Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde on the 2011 release Girls with Guitars, which included covers of the Rolling Stones and the Steve Miller Band as well as original material from the three guitarist/singer/songwriters. Later that same year, Fish released her solo debut, Runaway, also with Ruf Records. It was produced by mentor and early collaborator Mike Zito.
She saw her first chart success with her sophomore LP, Black Wind Howlin’, also produced by Zito. It hit the Billboard Heatseekers chart and reached the Top Ten of the blues albums chart upon release in 2013. She followed it with Wild at Heart in 2015, which became a blues number one. It was produced by Luther Dickinson of the Black Crowes and North Mississippi Allstars. Fish’s fourth studio album, Chills & Fever, was recorded in Detroit with members of the Detroit Cobras. It featured covers of obscure pop and soul tunes.