Guitar player, singer certain to be one of the highlights of the concert season
By Don Coble
ORANGE PARK – It’s impossible to pigeon-toe Samantha Fish into a …
ORANGE PARK – It’s impossible to pigeon-toe Samantha Fish into a musical genre.
One minute she’s blues. The next funk. Then she’s bluegrass. She never really leaves her rock roots and she’s very comfortable with playing country.
The best way to describe Samantha Fish’s is to say she has her own style.
Call it the Samantha Fish genre.
“I have the things that I love. I have what I consider to be the authentic me-thing that people relate to me a lot,” she said ahead of her joining Tab Benoit’s Swampland Jam for one special performance Sunday night at the Thrasher-Horne Center.
“I’ve been influenced by so many genres. I feel like it’s important for me to go out and do what appeals to me, making new songs, new recordings. I want to appeal to everybody, but I think the first person you have to try to please is yourself because I have to want to go out and play this stuff with conviction.”
Fish is poised to be one of Thrasher-Horne’s finest nights of the year. She’s won at least 21 national and international awards, including Beat Awards’ Artist of the Year in 2018 and Independent Blues Awards’ Artist of the Year in 2016.
Playing in front of a live crowd, however, is her greatest reward.
“Having that ability to go out night after night, play in front of new people, working on these songs and we actually get some real in-the-moment feedback – it’s not for me,” she said. “It’s feeding off the energy, seeing what works, being able to put together a show that moves people, and we can’t really do that unless we have people to move. It’s been really nice to go out and have that connection with the audience and perform for somebody.”
Fish’s appearance coincides with the release of her new album, “Faster.” The record recently moved up 10 spots to ninth on the Roots Music Reports’ Top 50 albums. It’s a rock-solid effort with undertones of blues.
Her two video releases, “Faster” and “Twisted Ambition” also are gaining popularity among both blues and rock fans.
“The new record, it’s got a different edge from anything else I’ve done,” she said. “The last five records have kind of had a different edge. They all have their own concept. This one, to me, feels like it’s got some rock and roll, it’s got some poppiness to it. There’s so high-quality production that I think people can relate more to a pop sound.
“At the end of the day, I brought the tools I have in my bag which are my hands, my guitar and my signing that I think go rooted in this blues world that I’ve gotten an incredible education and love for. To me, it’s just growing and stretching and finding new places to go with it.”
Each one of her 11 albums has its own essence. Instead of repeating familiar licks, she said she always wanted to take her music into undiscovered territories.
“I find people when people discover you, they love the album they discover you with. The people who first heard of me when I was doing Chills and Fever, they really miss the brass, whereas the people who discovered me with Wild Heart hated the brass at first and then they grew to love it,” she said.
“It’s kind of like, where were you when you first really liked the music, so the change thereafter is something you have to digest or either live with or don’t.
“I try to be good at what I do and play it with conviction.”
Samantha’s taste in music is every bit as diverse as her playing styles.
“I grew up not having a major record collection, but I listened to the radio a lot,” she said. “When I first got into guitars, it was like ‘Where are all the good guitar solos?’ they’re on alternative rock stations or classic rock, bands like Boston and Aerosmith and the [Rolling] Stones and Tom Petty. Those were the bands I initially was into as a guitar player, a lot of classic rock.
“As a guitar player, you start going down this rabbit hole, like ‘Who did Keith Richards love to listen to?’ That’s when you find everybody is influenced by blues music. They’re all influenced by all these legendary guitar players, the people who wrote the book. I started going down the rabbit hole and finding I actually love this. I started consuming music at this rapid pace when I was 15-16 years old.”
Samantha Fish said her growth in music always will be a work in progress. The next great song has yet to be played. So, the search will continue.
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