Kansas City guitar slinger Samantha Fish portrays the many different facets of her artistry in front of a sold-out audience at the Flowerpot in Derby.

To say that 2017 has been a creative year for US-based blues guitarist Samantha Fish is an understatement. In spring Samantha released her critically acclaimed album Chills and Fever; a record which took Fish to Motor City along with producer Bobby Harlow and a world-class horns section featuring Mark Levron (trumpet) and Travis Blotsky (saxophone) to grapple with a myriad of soul classics and deep cuts. 

Following which Samantha recently released her second studio album of 2017 in the shape of the Americana tinged masterpiece and her most personal record to date – Belle of the West. Again, somewhat of a departure from the soulful Chills and Fever and the blues-rock guitar hero record Wild Heart, which was released back in 2015. The latter of which is more of what Fish has been more renowned for in times gone by.

Quite often in this day and age, the music industry tries to put an artist inside of a box to make themselves feel comfortable more than anything else. However Fish rather boldly has decided that’s not for her and it’s paid off. With the Luther Dickinson produced Belle of the West not only has Samantha Fish topped the Billboard Blues Chart two weeks in a row but at the same time Rolling Stone Country has named her as one of the Top 10 Country Acts to watch out for right now.

This evening Samantha Fish returns to the Flowerpot in Derby where a capacity crowd is packed tightly into this intimate space to witness the return of this rising star of the roots music scene. Joined on stage by an uber-talented five-piece band, Samantha Fish centres her show this evening on the Chills and Fever record.

As this huge ensemble enter the room, there is barely enough space to fit the whole group on the Flowerpot’s tightly packed stage, with the horn section almost mingling with fans stood in the wings. It’s an up close and personal affair, to say the least, and with a 250 strong crowd in attendance, it doesn’t take long for things to get hot and sweaty.

Samantha Fish sets the tone for the evening ahead by opening the show with a trio of incredibly infectious tracks from the Chills and Fever record including the up-tempo “He Did It”, the almost Daptone-esque Motown number “You Can’t Go” and the sultry title track itself. During the course of the show, Fish performs the lion’s share of the Chills record, with roughly ten tracks featured in the set.

Due to the fact that Samantha’s genre-defying last two records Belle of the West and Chills and Fever respectively are so different, it would require two distinctly different sets of musicians to incorporate both albums into the set. Despite this Samantha teases the audience with a few tracks from her latest offering including both the beautifully heartfelt “Don’t Say You Love Me” and the country ballad “Blood In The Water”. The latter of which features some sublime vocal harmonies.

Samantha picks up the pace with the hard rocking “Highway’s Hold Me Now” from her last blues-rock album Wild Heart. Of course, Fish is well renowned for her slide playing, and a passionate cigar box fuelled rendition of “Crow Jane” closes out her main set and leaves the audience wanting more.

A duly deserved encore follows, but this time around Samantha returns to the stage solo, armed only with an acoustic guitar as she performs one final track from Belle of the West in the shape of “Need You More”.

The night is brought to a fitting conclusion with old favourite “Black Wind Howlin’”, during which the band really spreads out and jams. The addition of the soulful horn section gives the track a new lease of life, accentuating the song with a much bigger and bolder sound. Samantha really lets loose with some blistering playing on her stunning white Gibson SG. The tone which Fish generates from this guitar is simply out of this world.

Samantha Fish continues to push her creative boundaries. Whether she is grappling with blues, rock, soul or country, tonight she proves she can do it all, and do it all well – she is the total package.

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Samantha Fish
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Event Date: 25-Nov-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.