Written by Eddie Ferranti
An annual trip to Louisiana for a getaway from the rat race of Houston is a must for us. Friendly first people who are proud to say “we dance like nobody’s watching” embodies their cool attitude. Of course good Cajun food is a slam dunk – throw your diet away and enjoy. Lastly, music in the deep Acadian rich city of Lafayette provides rib stickin’ zydeco that just draws you in and will not let go. Nice to just set your mind free and have fun. On top of all that we were able to attend an event for the second time called DTA. Downtown Alive is celebrating their thirty-fifth year of Spring and Fall free concerts to the public! This night we shifted gears to catch a blues blow out provided by Kansas City native Samantha Fish. It was cold and rainy outside, but the venue Rock N’ Bowl stepped up and opened their doors to host. Inside it was as hot as an August day in Louisiana when she blasted the walls down!
Fish burst on the blues scene in 2009 and has been busting it ever since . Six albums already including two fine ones in 2017 alone. She borrowed a heavy dose from those two, the Mississippi mud-infused “Belle of the West” and “Chills and Fever” keeping the tunes flowing knocking the crowd down like the bowling pins surrounding both sides of the stage! “American Dream” scorched as an opener followed by “Chills and Fever”, “He Did It”, foot stompin’ “Little Baby”, nasty shredding on “You Can’t Go”, and “Blood in the Water”. Not only is the woman talented, but surrounded by horns, drums, bass, keys, and dynamic fiddle playing just stoked the fire all night. Plus she is not hard on the eyes and has a rock solid confident stage presence. I was impressed by her intricate and soul stirring solos. Her cover of Bettye LaVette’s “You’ll Never Change” featured her wailing vocals coupled with mesmerizing guitar prowess. Her blistering version of “Crow Jane” brought the crowd to a fever pitch as the band took a well needed break to let all catch their collective breath.
The stretch run second half just rock and rolled the packed house to their knees. “Somebody”, “Hello Stranger”, mind blowing “Don’t Say That You Love Me”, “I’m in Love With You”, and “Cowtown” proved that Samantha Fish is a genuinely breath taking talent. Little did we know that when she was called back for an encore she brought out Baton Rouge native and her own Wild Heart Record label artist, Jonathon Long, to tear thru “Daughters” and “Bitch On The Run”. Yikes and whatever expletive you want to insert describe the trade off riff explosion that these two displayed. Long is 29 also and the future looks bright for him by the way he played off Fish like they were a duo for years. Her hometown paper, The Kansas City Star, hit it on the nose with this: “Fish has knocked down the door of the patriarchal blues club.” Eye noe dats rite! You are hard pressed to put a label on what this woman can do on stage. That is why she is touring like a banshee spreading the word of blues, rock , country, swampy south red dirt, with a sprinkle of Americana. In closing Samantha herself sums it up quite well: “I’m never gonna be a traditional blues artist, because that’s not who I am. But it’s all the blues for me.” Put this act on your short list next time she visits your town!
Eddie “Edge” Ferranti
Houston Music Review