Amanda Fish Band review…May 18, 2015…

AMANDA FISH BAND

DOWN IN THE DIRT

FISH FOOD/VIZZTONE  VT-FF-01

I’MMA MAKE YOU LOVE ME–PLAYER BLUES–WAIT–GUESS I’LL LAY DOWN–PRISONER OF YOUR TOUCH–BOOTS ON THE GROUND–I DON’T NEED IT–HARD WALKIN’ BLUES–LADY OF THE NIGHT–BREAKING ME DOWN–WATCH IT ALL BURN–DOWN IN THE DIRT

There must be something in the water over in Kansas City, what with the excellent young blues talent coming out of there.  The latest is Amanda Fish, a tremendous vocalist, composer, and guitarist.  She is the sister of Samantha Fish, long a staple in Thomas Ruf’s “Girls With Guitars” tours.  The Amanda Fish Band has just released “Down In The Dirt,” twelve original cuts penned by Amanda or co-penned with Sean McDonnell.  This is a highly-personal concept album, most of the cuts dealing with love, loss, dysfunction, and, ultimately, redemption.

Joining Amanda on this album are Sean McDonnell on guitar and vocals, Cole Dillingham on bass and vocals, and Kristopher Schnebelen (he of the recently-disbanded Trampled Under Foot) on drums.  The fun starts with Amanda’s sassy, struttin’, declarative vocal on “I’mma Make You Love Me,” with Brody Buster on harp.  A look at love thru the eyes of “the other woman” is “Player Blues,” while a snarling guitar riff drives “Wait.”  Sean and Amanda do a fine country-blues duet about two lovers who are separated and find themselves at odds with their feelings, “Guess I’ll Lay Down and try not to dream about you.”  This one has blues fiddle from Jacob Hiser, and barrellhouse piano from Liam Goodrick.

Amanda can see the writing on the wall when a lover no longer wants her around, so she is more than happy to oblige and put her “Boots On The Ground.”   More great guitar keeps this one solid in the pocket.  “Hard Walkin’ Blues” is another tale of love gone waaay wrong, and has a decidedly-Delta feel thanks to killer slide guitar and its stomping beat.

We had two favorites, too.  The band hits a jazzy, samba groove on another duet between Amanda and Sean, the tale of two lovers who realize they are both in deep, and a”Prisoner Of Your Touch.”  And, Amanda pulls no punches in “Lady Of The Night.”  She’ll be “your best friend or your enemy, too,” as long as “you’re paying for it!”

Amanda Fish has a brilliant vocal style that easily conveys a wide range of emotions, and the material in “Down In The Dirt” shows a maturity well-beyond her youth.  This is a great coming-out party for Amanda and the band!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society

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