By Anita Stewart, Rock At Night Pittsburgh
ALBUM REVIEW: Samantha Fish-Kill or be Kind-Released on Rounder Records on September 20, 2019
Samantha Fish “Kill or Be Kind”
Award-winning Samantha Fish is finally getting the international recognition that she deserves. Her debut for Rounder Records, the latest recording and her sixth studio album, “Kill or Be Kind” not only shows off her extraordinary blues guitar grooves, but highlights her songwriting and lyrical skills. She wanted each song to have a life of it’s own. The recording was originally scheduled for August but has been pushed up for a September 20th, 2019 release.
The video of “Bulletproof,” the first cut on the recording has been uploaded to YouTube and lyric videos for “Watch It Die” and “Love Letters” can also be found on that platform. You can check them out HERE and HERE and HERE.
A favorite at Rock at Night ( covered previously HERE and HERE )she shows what a woman can do in a primarily man’s world by turning the notion on it’s head–that blues and rock guitar is an exclusive boy’s club and female artists can’t break in. Not true! Samantha has played her heart out and has learned along the way and shared the stage with the greats such as Buddy Guy, Tab Benoit and so many more. Constant recording and touring to support her music in both the US and Europe has paid off with major name recognition and each of her recordings get better and better.
“That was my mission on this album: to really set these songs up so that they have a life of their own,” says Samantha Fish about her latest release. “Strong messages from the heart – that’s what I really set out for.” She didn’t fail to deliver!
The album was recorded at the legendary Royal Studios in Memphis with award winning Scott Billington producing. Other collaborations included high quality songwriters such as Parker Millsap that changed up her formula on this recording and there is quite a lot of blurring and blending of the genres.
Here is a bit about the cuts one by one:
Intricate slide work on this song. She smokes! Great opening song for this recording. This was the first video release and she was using her signature cigar box guitar. She has said in recent interviews that she is thinking about retiring this instrument soon. The video captures the energy of her live shows.
Kill or Be Kind
A slow bluesy-pop love lament that throws the relationship back in the dude’s corner and reveals to the listener that there is a duality to love. Great lyrics, backing keys and horn section. Samantha’s voice shines in this one!
Another slow one about love gone wrong, very pop, nice harmonies with the voices, instruments peak into a crescendo for the bridge and chorus. The bass line is infectious and a great guitar solo! Samantha calls this her “love sick” song.
Watch It Die
This song is pure retro rock with driving guitar and grabs the listener from the first guitar riff. Great horns and backing vocals in this one! This is the cut that can make you go over the speed limit if you are listening while driving on the highway.
Try Not to Fall in Love With You
A Memphis R&B love song with lots of brass and keys and almost a country tinge. This one was co-written with Parker Millsap. Sounds very late 50’s early 60’s retro with catchy hooks–a sing along song! The backing horns reminded me of some of the classic Motown riffs, too.
A poignant and soft ballad, precious lyrics, another love lament of saying good-bye to the lover. Superbly written and one of my favorites on this recording. The key change is very dramatic.
Love Your Lies
A driving rock song that has elements of punk, rockabilly, and soul; great guitar work–again with a retro sound and feel.
A real pretty, almost rock, folksy song; another one that sounds like a standard that other musicians will love to cover. Slide guitar and the layers of guitar work are beautiful in this song.
She Don’t Live Around Here
A big band sound opens this soul ballad with highlights on the keys and the horns, this is a great song to slow dance to.
Back to the slow, smokey Southern style blues, a lyrical sad story of love gone wrong. Backing vocals and keys tie it all together. A guitar solo with accents from the horns is brilliant! Sam’s vocals are great!
You Got It Bad
A standard blues-rock song, great vocals and horns, guitar solo is amazing and she uses slide throughout the song. Keys and backing vocals are highlighted here.
Samantha’s music will always be infused with the blues–but this album, supremely engineered with more of a “wall of sound” on most of the cuts, is designed to appeal to a wider, perhaps more rock, soul and pop loving audience. What is evident is Samantha’s ability to tell a story with each song and the songwriting collaborations are stellar.
“This is me coming through, my personality,” Samantha said. “I got the moon in the back of my mind, and I want to shoot for it! I want to reach over genre lines and get out to as many people as possible. This album is so broad – and it’s all me. So I’m just hoping it catches people and appeals to them.”
Get this recording and be sure not to miss Samantha as she tours the world!
Tour info is HERE.
SAMANTHA FISH ONLINE
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Anita grew up in a rock and roll radio station that her father owned and has a musical family. Spent a few years singing back up. Now sings in the shower! Was elected to local office and worked as staff on three presidential campaigns as a Social Media and Virtual Outreach expert. Plays a variety of musical instruments including ukulele and she loves drum circles. Her fave music genres are all of them--Alternative to Zydeco. Promotes bands and independent artists through ANITA STEWART PROMOTIONS and independent female musicians, singers, and songwriters through YES SHE ROCKS. Writes, fights for peace, human rights, a green environment, pure water, clean food. Knits, paints, attends concerts and open jams and explores in nature with her camera. She has recently retired to a permaculture farm in the mountains, but no rocking chair for her! She has been working for Rock at Night since 2014.
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