Today guitarist Samantha Fish shares the first track from her upcoming release, Chills & Fever. “Crow Jane” is a raucous remake of the Skip James version of this classic tune, which dates back to the early 1900s. While the true origin of the song is a bit hazy, Fish brings it to life in a spectacular way.
Chock full of swampy guitars, New Orleans-style horns and fronted by Fish’s powerful, blues-tinged vocals, I can’t think of a better representation of this story of regret.
She shares, “It’s such an old song, and I felt like it could be a really killer, ballsy song. I played the cigar box guitar on it, which my love affair of the cigar box goes up and down. Sometimes I’m really into it and sometimes I’m not. But it adds such a cool, heavy texture. It has a P-nass pickup on a guitar with only four strings, and it just sounds really guttural and kinda nasty. That song is very guitar driven and the horns almost add a New Orleans funeral procession vibe to it. It’s pretty heavy. I picked it because it was a dark, creepy song and I like that kind of stuff. I’m into the macabre.”
For Chills & Fever, Fish took a long look into what’s inspired her musical journey. “I listened to a lot of soul music, and I dug deep into people like Otis Redding and Ray Charles,” Fish says. “I was also influenced by people like North Mississippi's R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. It’s a less restrained style of music than the sound people might be used to hearing from me, it’s definitely a different facet of my personality.”
Fish has been well known as a purveyor of blues, having been lauded by such legends as Buddy Guy, the Royal Southern Brotherhood and Luther Dickinson. But her real love is raw, scrappy rock and roll.
It’s little wonder that when it came time to record Chills & Fever, Fish set her sights on Detroit, the home of soul, Motown, R&B and the much edgier rock of Iggy Pop, Jack White and the White Stripes. It was there that she joined forces with members of the Detroit Cobras, a band whose insurgent ethic has made them darlings of the Midwest punk/blues scene. The two entities—which included Joe Mazzola on guitar, Steve Nawara on bass, Kenny Tudrick on drums with Bob Mervak on keys, and the New Orleans horn section featuring Mark Levron and Travis Blotsky on trumpet and saxophone—bonded over a common love of classic soul and rollicking rhythms, so much so that the results testify to a seemingly timeless template.
Covering songs from the Sixties and Seventies—indelible melodies from the pens of legends like Jackie DeShannon, Jerry Ragavoy, Bert Berns and Allen Toussaint—along with producer Bobby Harlow (King Tuff, The Gap Dream, White Fang) a member of the Detroit band the Go, which also featured Jack White prior to his stint with the White Stripes. With that as her starting point, Fish and the band then created an album that’s best described as a pure slab of rocking rhythm n’ blues.
Growing up in Kansas City, Fish switched from drums to guitar at the tender age of 15. She spent much of her time in local watering holes listening to visiting blues bands, and caught the attention of Ruf Records. The label subsequently released her album, Girls with Guitars, which found her co-billed with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. That led to her forming her own trio and recording three more albums, Runaway (2011), Black Wind Howlin’ (2013) and Wild Heart (2015), as well as reaping an award for Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis.
Chills & Fever is out on March 17. Trust me, this is one you'll want ot mark your calendar for. Find out more about Samantha Fish at samanthafish.com
- Mar 3 Lafayette’s Music Room Memphis, TN
- Mar 4 Bottleneck Blues Bar Vicksburg, MS
- Mar 5 DBA New Orleans, LA
- Mar 9 Terra Fermata Stuart, FL
- Mar 10 Funky Biscuit Boca Raton, FL
- Mar 11 Bonita Springs Blues Festival Bonita Springs, FL
- Mar 17 Jackson Hole Rendezvous Fest Jackson Hole, WY
- Mar 18 River City Blues Festival Marietta, OH
- Apr 6 The Palladium St. Petersburg, FL
- Apr 8 Tampa Bay Blues Festival St.Petersburg, FL
- Apr 11 The Stanhope House Stanhope, NJ
- Apr 12 Sellersville Theatre Sellersville, PA
- Apr 13 Birchmere Alexandria, VA
- Apr 14 Highline Ballroom New York, NY
- Apr 15 Harrisburg Midtown Arts Harrisburg, PA
- Apr 21 Sweetwater 420 Festival Atlanta, GA
- Apr 22 Savage Station Asheville, NC
- Apr 23 Pleasure Island Blues & Jazz Fest Kure Beach, NC
- May 5 Republic New Orleans, LA
- May 20 Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival Annapolis, MD
- May 21 Doheny Blues Festival Dana Beach, CA
- Jun 10 Greeley Blues Jam Festival Greeley, CO
- Jun 16 WC Handy Blues & BBQ Henderson, KY 42420
- Jun 17 Utah Blues Festival Salt Lake City, UT
- Aug 19 Big Bull Falls Blues Festival Wausau, WI