Samantha Fish review…September 30, 2013…

SAMANTHA FISH

BLACK WIND HOWLIN’

RUF RECORDS 1195

MILES TO GO–KICK AROUND–GO TO HELL–SUCKER BORN–OVER YOU–WHO’S BEEN TALKING–LAY IT DOWN–LET’S HAVE SOME FUN–HEARTBREAKER–FOOLIN ME–BLACK WIND HOWLIN’–LAST SEPTEMBER

After winning the Best New Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Awards, Samantha Fish proudly proclaimed, “I can hardly wait to make album number two!”  “Runaway,” her stirring 2011 debut, now has ts follow-up, and it is a real barn-burner.  Entitled “Black Wind Howlin,” it is eleven original cuts and one cover that show not only the depths of Samantha’s maturity as a player, singer, and composer, but a harder-edged, rawer side of her as well.

Since her breakout 2011 season, Samantha has been touring virtually non-stop, and most of the material on this album was borne from the sights and sounds she encountered during this time.  That’s the subject of the leadoff cut, with “mouths to feed, my word to keep, and Miles To Go” before the next show.  It is set over a furious locomotive beat, literally taking the listener along for the ride.  She breaks out a nasty slide guitar attack over Johnny Sansone’s harp in the too-true tale of being a female in a cut-throat business, “Sucker Born every minute,” while “Lay It Down” is a blues-rock tune full of characters you’re likely to encounter on “just another Saturday night.” “Heartbreaker” is another tune with some down-and-dirty licks that find Samantha dealing with a lover full of nothing but lies, and the brooding title cut pounds with dark, percussion-heavy undertones, and a rolling guitar that seems to rise up right out of the Mississippi mists.

There are two lighter moments on the album, too.  “Over You” finds Samantha telling an ex that “you won’t get the best of me,” and the set-closing twang of “Last September” features fiddle from Bo Thomas.  Both of these cuts nowadays would be right at home on either of the soundtracks released for the “Nashville” TV show.

The set had two excellent standouts, too.  Johnny Sansone blows that immortal riff that defines “Who’s Been Talking” on his harp, and Samantha rocks that rhumba beat, fading to black with the lyric that makes her realize that she’s “the causin’ of it all.”  And, nowhere does the attitude and vitriolic venom fly faster than on Samantha and Paul Thorn’s ode to two lovers who aren’t buying what the other is selling, and tell each other plainly to “Go To Hell,”—at least until they decide to give each other one more try.  The guitar is as grungy and full of fuzztone and feedback as one would imagine on a cut of this magnitude.

Samantha Fish has accomplished a rare feat in contemporary blues.  She has taken an award-winning album and improved upon it, with an excellent sophomore release, “Black Wind Howlin.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow

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