Last Fall, multi-talented singer-songwriter guitarist Samantha Fish released her latest album, Faster, via Rounder Records. The follow-up to 2019’s Kill Or Be Kind, was produced by Martin Kierszenbaum, and has been garnering critical acclaim since its release. Not one to let moss grow beneath her feet, Samantha Fish has traditionally kept up a relentless touring schedule, and despite the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has been having on touring plans and venues, she has done an admirable job of getting out there and playing the new songs from Faster on stage and in front of her fans. Noted for her incendiary performances, when the tour recently rolled into Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro NC, we knew this was a show not to be missed.
From the moment Samantha Fish stepped out of the shadows at the back of the stage, grabbed her trademark cigar box guitar, and purposely strode to the center of the stage, she oozed swagger and self-confidence. With a smile for the crowd and a knowing look for her band, they launched into “Bulletproof,” the opening track off of Kill Or Be Kind, and just like that they were off and running. Hot on the heels of their opener, Samantha and her backing trio dipped into the new album with “All Ice No Whiskey,” which showcased the expanded sound of Faster by blending gritty bluesy guitar with a catchy pop groove. The rest of the set continued to mix songs from across Samantha’s catalog, reflecting different styles but all showcasing her searing guitar work and vocal prowess. At her core, Samantha Fish is a blueswoman, but she is anything but traditional. Throughout the evening, she seemed equally at home whether delivering country-tinged songs, swampy blues, gritty rock, or even the cocktail lounge jazz-influenced vibe of “Chills and Fever,” with powerful vocals that would have had Amy Winehouse nodding in approval and smiling down from above.
The rambunctious but respectful crowd, consisting of fans both old and new, was engaged from the start. By the time the set drew to a close with “Black Wind Howlin’,” the room was roaring with approval and “howlin’” for more. Samantha didn’t disappoint, returning for a rollicking run through Bukka White’s “Shake ‘Em On Down.” Samantha Fish was a force to be reckoned with, creating an infectious energy and elevating her songs to heights that can’t be fully harnessed on an album.
Opening the show was Indianapolis-based singer-songwriter Django Knight. Django, a multi-instrumentalist, performed a solo set on guitar with backing tracks. The fact he didn’t have a band behind him did not take anything away from what proved to be an incendiary set. Standing alone center stage, Django was mesmerizing. He delivered a set of blues, rock, and funk that demanded attention and set a high bar for the evening. Head over to: djangoknight.com for tour dates and info.