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Samantha Fish busting out second studio album of the year

Samantha Fish

High Sierra festivalgoers last year were fortunate to catch Samantha Fish.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Samantha Fish is going with the flow, and it’s working out swimmingly for her growing legion of fans.

On Friday, she announced that she will release her second album this year. “Belle of the West” will be released in November and, like her breakout album in 2015, “Wild Heart,” it is produced by Luther Dickinson.

Fish is on a West Coast tour supporting the album she released in March, “Chills & Fever.” She played for the first time at both Bluesapaloosa in Mammoth Lakes on Aug. 5, at the Crystal Bay Casino at Lake Tahoe on Friday, Aug. 11.

She described “Belle of the West” as the flip side of “Chills & Fever.”

“We have these two great albums that really showcase diverse approaches and creative style,” she told Tahoe Onstage. “I’ve got a lot to say right now. (My view is) while I have somebody’s attention, let’s do this. It’s fun because I get to keep writing. My creativity keeps flowing.”

Samantha FishThe first time Fish made a record with Dickinson, it went all the way to No. 1 on the blues charts. The second was recorded at Zebra Ranch Studios in North Mississippi a year and a half ago and before the “Chills & Fever” sessions in Detroit.

“I love Luther,” she said. “First, he’s one of my favorite guitar players but his production style is let the natural talent shine through. He wants to go through it in an organic way. He’s a creative guy who has an ear for dynamics and how to build things.”

One of the songs on the upcoming album is a duet with Lightnin’ Malcolm, a Hill Country bluesman who she befriended as a teenager just after she switched from drumming to guitar.

“I think the reason why I was so drawn to that style of blues was not just the fact I grew up on rock and roll. For me, what those guys down there were doing with Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, that was the most punk rock blues there was, but it also was so groove oriented. A lot of it is about the drums and the trance thing with the guitar. It’s not about shredding, it’s about building something that’s danceable. I definitely think that the drums have influenced the things I like.”

She described the album as “semi-acoustic songwriter, Americana.”

While Fish went into the heart of the Hill Country for “Belle of the West,” she went to the birthplace of Motown and punk rock for “Chills & Fever.”

“It’s got both of those things and, to me, it’s a blues and rock and roll soul album,” she said. “It was recorded with members of Detroit Cobras. It’s got New Orleans horns on it.”

Speaking of New Orleans, Fish recently moved to the Crescent City, leaving her hometown Kansas City. But she said she expects to continue to return to the famed Knuckleheads Saloon, where she has played ever since she was an under-aged pizza deliverer.

Fans will note that the fiery player has a custom Delaney “Fishacaster” Telecaster guitar and might be playing barefoot.

“The barefoot thing is not like an image deal,” she said. “It’s more like I wear ridiculous shoes that can get very uncomfortable and I kick them off. It’s not really a thing, it’s just I’m bad at being a girl.”

Concert review: Samantha Fish gets Lake Tahoe jumping.

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Samantha Fish at the 2016 High Sierra Music Festival.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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