Samantha Fish review…November 18, 2017…

SAMANTHA FISH

BELLE OF THE WEST

RUF RECORDS  1248

AMERICAN DREAM–BLOOD IN THE WATER–NEED YOU MORE–COWTOWN–DAUGHTERS–DON’T SAY YOU LOVE ME–BELLE OF THE WEST–POOR BLACK MATTIE (FEAT. LIGHTNIN MALCOLM)–NO ANGELS–NEARING HOME (FEAT. LILLIE MAE)–GONE FOR GOOD

Earlier this year, Midwest-raised woman of the blues Samantha Fish released “Chills And Fever,” a collection of R & B-infused songs with the help of the Detroit Cobras.  Not long after that one came out, she headed down to the Mississippi Hill Country to the Zebra Ranch Studios to get to work on its follow-up.  In an unprecedented move for this day and age, she has just released her second album during 2017 with “Belle Of The West.”  It was produced by Luther Dickinson, who worked with her on “Wild Heart” from 2015.   This set also features some of the best players associated with this region along for the ride, including Jimbo Mathus, Lightnin’ Malcolm Lillie Mae, Sharde Thomas and several others steeped in this music’s tradition.

These young folks sure let their passion for this music run wild on this collection.  Leading off, Samantha fires a salvo at the so-called “American Dream,” where there’s a “hand on the Bible, and a foot on your neck,” punctuated by Sharde’s signature fife work and Lillie’s fiddle.  Loss of a loved one leads to “nothing’s right, but nothing’s wrong,” the poignant “Need You More than you’ll ever know.”  The problem of broken families and teen runaways is addressed in “Daughters,” and, at the other end of the spectrum, Samantha is our woman of questionable moral fiber in “there ain’t No Angels ’round here.”

We had two favorites, too.  Samantha empowers herself by taking a stand and leaving “this Cowtown” for good, this one with a decided Southern-rock vibe.  And, she closes the set with the slide-heavy romp of a young lady sho’ nuff glad a no-good lover is “Gone For Good.”

Samantha Fish is not one to rest on past accomplishments, and is not afraid to push the envelope when it comes to her music.  That’s the cool thing about  her latest album.  She embraced the swagger, sounds, and passion of the Hill Country, and “Belle Of The West” just sounds natural!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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