Chills & Fever Samantha Fish
- 1He Did It03:02
- 2Chills & Fever 03:22
- 3Hello Stranger 04:25
- 4It’s Your Voodoo Working 03:41
- 5Hurt’s All Gone 03:46
- 6You Can’t Go 04:06
- 7Either Way I Lose05:30
- 8Never Gonna Cry04:15
- 9Little Baby 02:59
- 10Nearer To You 03:27
- 11You’ll Never Change 03:13
- 12Crow Jane 03:34
- 13Somebody’s Always Trying 06:06
- 14I’ll Come Running Over 03:27
Info for Chills & Fever
Whether one leans towards the blues, opts for Americana or ignites some special fervor by playing with a garage band, there’s a common bond that suggests a reverence for the roots. Looking back towards an earlier template -- no matter what the genre -- proves the point that appreciating what came before can be a stepping stone for what comes next.
Samantha Fish knows that all too well, and it’s been evidenced in the music she’s made her entire career. While she’s well known as a purveyor of blues, having been lauded by such legends as Buddy Guy, the Royal Southern Brotherhood and Luther Dickinson, her real love is simply raw, scrappy rock and roll. “I grew up on it,” she insists. “Working with Luther on my last album further instilled that spirit in me. It made me realize just how much that basic, unfettered sound means to me, and how well it ties into soul music, R&B, country and so many other forms of music that are essential even today.”
It’s little wonder then that when it came time to record her new album, Chills & Fever, Fish ventured off in another new direction, one she was exploring for the first time in her career. She traveled to the land of the legendary Motown Detroit and joined forces with members of the Detroit Cobras, a band whose insurgent ethic has made them darlings of the Midwest punk/blues scene. The two entities -- which included Joe Mazzola on guitar, Steve Nawara on bass, and Kenny Tudrick along with Bob Mervak on keys, and the New Orleans horn section featuring Mark Levron and Travis Blotsky on trumpet and saxophone -- bonded over a common love of classic soul and rollicking rhythms, so much so that the results testify to a seemingly timeless template. Covering songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s -- indelible melodies from the pens of legends like Jackie DeShannon, Jerry Ragavoy, Bert Berns and Allen Toussaint -- along with producer Bobby Harlow (King Tuff, The Gap Dream, White Fang), a member of the Detroit band The Go, which also featured Jack White prior to his stint with the White Stripes. With that as her starting point, Fish and the band then created an album that’s best described as a pure slab of rocking rhythm n’ blues.
“I listened to a lot of soul music, and I dug deep into people like Otis Redding and Ray Charles,” Fish recalls. “I was also influenced by people like R.L. Burnside and North Mississippi’s Junior Kimbrough. It’s a lot less restrained style of music than the sound people may be used to hearing from me, but it’s definitely a different facet of my personality. It’s far more straight forward.”
The fact is, Fish has never been bound by any expectations whatsoever. Growing up in Kansas City, she switched from drums to guitar at the tender age of 15. She spent much of her time in local watering holes listening to visiting blues bands. Samantha caught the attention of Ruf Records. The label subsequently released her album, Girls with Guitars, which found her co-billed with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. That led to her forming her own trio and recording three more albums, Runaway (2011), Black Wind Howlin’ (2013) and Wild Heart (2015), as reaping an awards for Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis. Along the way she found herself working with other artists as well -- Jimmy Hall, Devon Allman, and Reese Wynans, among them.
Still, nothing she’s done before can prepare her faithful fans and followers to the seminal sounds of Chills & Fever.
I don’t think I ever enjoyed making a record quite as much as I enjoyed making this one,” Fish insists. “I love the sound of the brass and the edgier intensity. One thing’s for sure. Nothing ever felt so authentic.”
Samantha Fish, vocals, lead guitar
Joe Mazzola, rhythm guitar
Steve Navara, bass
Kenny Tudrick, drums
Bob Mervak, electric piano
Marc Levron, trumpet
Travis Blotzky, saxophone
Produced by Bobby Harlow
Just a few months ago, very few people outside Kansas City, Missouri knew there was a young, dynamic musician named Samantha Fish getting ready to take the world by storm. In fact, it's not all that long ago that the 22-year-old singer/guitarist first discovered the blues and started paying her dues on that city's local scene. With Runaway, her solo debut, she now breaks out big time, announcing herself as a newcomer to be reckoned with.
The album's ten tracks - nine of them originals - incorporate "all the sounds I grew up with, with my own spin," says Fish, who seems to have spent her formative years in the Midwest soaking up a vast array of musical styles. Runaway features sharp-edged, riff-driven blues ("Down in the Swamp"), breakneck boogies ("Runaway"), smoky, late-night jazz ("Feelin' Alright") as well as hints of the sultry 70s hard rock of Ann and Nancy Wilson and the 4/4 ruggedness of the Rolling Stones. Throughout, Fish demonstrates astonishing range and depth as a songwriter. Her vocals are cool, confident and nothing less than beguiling.
Backing her on this eclectic collection of modern electric blues is the same crack team that first convened for the making of Girls With Guitars. That collaboration with fellow female artists Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde, released earlier this year, already showed that Fish refuses to be intimidated, even when working with musicians more experienced than herself. "They are incredibly talented and creative, so it made for fun sessions," she says of the well-oiled studio band heard on Runaway. Jamie Little, one of the UK's most in-demand drummers, reunites with bassist Cassie Taylor to give the record plenty of rhythmic thump. Producer Mike Zito, a St. Louis native and 2010 Blues Music Award winner, adds thick, meaty electric guitar on most cuts. "Mike and I have known each other for a few years now, so he knew the sound and style I was after. He did a great job of taking ideas and giving them direction in the studio setting."
In between making these first two albums, Fish spent a month on the road with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde for the first leg of the year-long Blues Caravan Tour. It gave her the valuable opportunity to road-test the material heard on Runaway to a discriminating audience. With an exciting new debut album now in her back pocket, the tour continues throughout the summer and into the fall of 2011, touching down at many European and North American festivals and even taking to the seas on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in October.