Samantha Fish The Sinclair Boston MA December 17, 2017
Story by JD Cohen
The Belle of the West Gives Boston a Bad Case of the Sunday Night Blues
From the video channel of David Riley:
There is a buzz starting to happen around Kansas City-based Samantha Fish and anyone who has been following her career knows she is something special. Produced by Luther Dickinson, Fish’s new album Belle of the West was recently picked as one of the top albums of 2017 and topped the Billboard Blues Chart two weeks in a row. Rolling Stone Country has named her as one of the Top 10 Country Acts to watch. Touring incessantly, Samantha Fish and her band (Mark Levron (trumpet) and Travis Blotsky (saxophone) Chris Alexander (bass) Phil Breen (keyboards) Yonrico Scott (drums) and Rebecca Crenshaw (fiddle & vocals) have polished their live act to a well-oiled machine.
On Sunday they brought a mixed bag of soul, blues, country, and rock n’ roll to a filled house of devoted fans at the Sinclair in Cambridge, where they played for the first time. The touring band fronted by the blazing guitar, powerful voice, and pinup model good looks of Samantha performed a similar set that they have been dazzling audiences with on this current tour and played that was almost song for song identical to the show played two days earlier at the Kate in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The 18 song set was made up primarily of songs from the new album and Samantha’s earlier 2017 release, Chills and Fever.
The show opened with the classic soul cover, “Hello Stranger” and although it didn’t kick off the evening with a bang, the song set an intimate mood that seemed appropriate given the size of the room and the adoring and friendly crowd. The uplifting and high powered “You Can’t Go” came next, a song that features some of Samantha’s blistering guitar work, soaring vocals and punctuated by the horn section. The fun Chills and Fever followed and then He Did It, Little Baby, Nearer to You and Somebody’s “Always Tryin'” all from the Chills and Fever album.
The second half of the show included a series of songs from the new Belle of the West album including the slow-burning “Don’t Say You Love Me,” the title track “Belle of the West,” and the beautiful “Daughters.” The horns came out again and the Fish brought the energy up on “No Angels,” dedicated to New England fans and the signature “Gone for Good,” a rocking crowd favorite. “Blood in the Water,” is another slow and stirring Fish original off the new album.
The Charles Sheffield hit “It’s Your Voodoo Working,” which Fish covered on the Chills and Fever album, had a great New Orleans feel and featured some of the talented horn work of Travis Blotsky (saxophone) Chris Alexander (bass). Blotsky and Alexander are the secret weapon of the band, adding punctuation and punch to much of the night’s performance, especially on this New Orleans classic. “Either Way I Lose,” the classic soul cover also featured on Chills and Fever fit in perfectly and also features some nice guitar work and Fish’s soaring vocals. “American Dream” closed out the set. Samantha Fish took out the acoustic guitar for the beautiful folk ballad, “Need You More,” and then finished with show with the high octane Skip James classic “Crow James,” featuring cigar box guitar and bull horn vocals.
Many in the crowd stuck around long after the show to meet Samantha Fish in person, and she graciously took photos with devotees, signed CDs, set lists and anything else fans had with them for her to sign. In a different era, it’s hard to believe Fish wouldn’t be a huge start. A multi-talented musician and song writer on the rise, she will likely be playing to larger audiences soon. Now is the time to see her; in her prime with this outstanding band while they are still playing smaller venues, up close and personal. New Orleans (by way of Denmark) songwriter and guitarist Louie Fontaine and the Starlight Searchers opened with an eccentric carnival barker meets Southern preacher bluesy set.
From the video channel of David Riley:
Set List Hello Stranger You Can’t Go Chills and Fever He Did It Little Baby Nearer To You Somebody’s Always Tryin Don’t Say You Love Me Belle of the West Daughter No Angels Gone for Good Blood in the Water Voodoo Working Either Way I Lose American Dream Encore Need You More Crow James
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