The crayon sketched sign that hangs on the door of the blues club that reads “boys only” has just been set ablaze. The arsonist is a 24-year-old singer/guitar player from Kansas City, Missouri who taught herself how to play the guitar when she was just finishing her teenage years.
Samantha Fish has been building a buzz throughout the blues music scene since her 2011 debut, Runaway. The record was met with heat and praise and in 2012 she won the Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist Debut.” Known for her slick guitar riffs and sweet howling vocals, Fish is all set for a night of thundering blues at Cozmic Pizza.
Fish’s journey into the music scene started with humble beginnings. While growing up in Kansas City, she would often sneak into local clubs to hear passing musicians and take notes on their style. She would sit in with any musician willing to lend her a spot and she soon became a fixture at the Knucklehead’s Saloon. Her self-released live album Fresh Bait was released in 2010 and after earning some praise and gaining recommendations, it made its way to Ruf Records who offered Fish a contract.
Her first recording was a collaborative effort with two other blues guitarists, Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde, and was aptly titled Girls with Guitars. The three female blue guitarists passed around guitar licks and broke down any gender barriers associated with the blues genre. After the release of Runaway, Fish toured non-stop and continued to write and perfect her next batch of songs. Her most recent string of shows are in support of her upcoming sophomore album, Black Wind Holwlin’, which is set for release in October.
This new record has Fish maintaining her riff-heavy guitar work and the singer’s vocals continue to find that spot between amplified and clear. She almost sounds like an alternate universe Amy Winehouse who gave up drugs for a 4/4 blues standard. Her lyrical content is firm and tough with female tenacity. On the track “Lay it Down,” she growls, “He’s got the ace up his sleeve / I got a pistol on my side / and if he pulls first I’m gonna give it to him right.”
Samantha Fish has had to deal with all the skepticism and doubt caused by her youth and gender. Though none of these factors have caused any setbacks; they’ve only acted as timber.
Cozmic Pizza is located at 199 W. Eighth Ave. Admission is $17 for the all-ages event.