STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
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Last month Kansas City blues guitarist and singer Samantha Fish entered the iTunes blues charts at No. 1, above The Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry.
On April 12, the 28-year-old international blues festival circuit veteran will be jamming at Sellersville Theater with a six-piece band. The set is likely to be peppered with songs from her fourth and latest album “Chills & Fever” — a collage of 14 1960s and 1970s R&B gems like Barbara Lewis’ “Hello Stranger” and Nina Simone’s “Either Way I Lose.”
“They weren’t hits back in the day, but should’ve been. The idea behind it is I wanted to make a really timeless album of soul stuff,” said Fish in a phone interview.
It’s an interesting contrast from her last album, 2015’s Americana-leaning “Wild Heart,” on which she wrote or co-wrote nearly all the songs.
The winner of the 2012 Blues Music Award for Best New Artist, Fish is calling from France — probably not the first place you’d think of for live blues. “They love the music, and they’re enthusiastic in Europe and the UK for American traditions,” said Fish, a self-taught guitarist who studied online videos of Keith Richards, Mike Campbell of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughn and AC/DC’s Angus Young after she got her first guitar at 15 years old.
Also, her parents hosted a lot of house parties when she was growing up, where the guests performed whatever music suited the mood. Fish originally played drums before switching to guitar. “My dad showed me some things, and his dad showed me some things,” she said.
There are videos of her onstage star power on her website, www.samanthafish.com, but a must-see is the fittingly haunting, black and white, film noir music video for “Chills & Fever.” “I would love to do that again. I love making music videos. It’s a fun process,” she said.
Her arsenal of instruments includes a white Gibson SG, a signature Delaney and an electrified cigar box style guitar. “It was a new, fun texture to play with,” she said of the cigar box guitar. “I love the sound it makes. It’s got a raw, guttural tone.”
Over the last six years, Fish has shared the stage with Buddy Guy, Tab Benoit, The Royal Southern Brotherhood and Luther Dickenson.