We recently caught Samantha Fish playing at the Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival in Topeka, Kansas. It was a grand Fourth of July celebration, and the large crowd braved 100+ degree temperatures to be blown away by the incredible blues talent at the free (!) event. After a blowout jam with the boys of Royal Southern Brotherhood to end the night, Sam swung by the back porch to talk about her explosive career, winning a Blues Music Award, and unsuccessfully trying to buy fireworks in England!
We’re here at the Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival with the Blues Music Award Winning Samantha Fish! Congratulations on the BMA win! That’s got to feel awesome.
Thank you! Yes! It’s been really cool to have won. I’m still kind of… it hasn’t really sunk in yet.
From what I hear from Piedmont, it’s sunk in for everybody else! You are in demand!
Well, that’s good! I’m waiting to see how the rest of the summer pans out. It’s been a good year so far. I want to play as many places as possible. I’m ready to tour. Ready to go!
Like you haven’t been on tour and all over Europe the last couple of years!
I know but I haven’t done much of the states yet! We did a lot in Europe but I haven’t done a whole lot in the states, so I’m ready to dig into that adventure.
Are you touring mainly with your own band now, or is it still Girls with Guitars?
It’s all the Samantha Fish band now. We concluded that “Girls With Guitars” chapter back in May.
What doors did that open?
It was great! I loved collaborating with different people, and to collaborate with those girls, Cassie and Dani.. it was fun. We had a lot of good times on the road.
There was a great album that came out of it, as well as your own album, Runaway, produced by Mike Zito, who you were just on stage jamming with a minute ago!
Yes! Well, I’m not allowed to really talk about it yet, but we’re talking about doing another one! The second Samantha Fish album, released by Ruf Records and produced by Mike Zito.
Awesome. And the last one just won rave reviews. So you’re doing good so far!
This next one, I’m writing for it, and I’m excited for it! I know I’ve got to out-do the last one. I’m working on that.
Tell us what’s in store for the future of Samantha Fish?
That record, we’re going to make that at the end of the year. I’m going to be touring around [the U.S.] all year. I’m doing the blues cruise in October. I’m coming on as a special guest. Tommy Castro was so kind to invite me on board as part of the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue. So I’m part of the revue now!
Tommy Castro must really like K.C. people!
He’s awesome! I love Tommy. I am so in debt to him. I love going to the Caribbean! Mike Zito and all of those guys have been so good to me. It’s going to be a good year. A very good year. Lots of trips. Lots of touring! I just got a new guitar! A Delaney! Mike Delaney and I got hooked up with some Category Five Amplifiers, so my sound is getting there! It was so exciting to get picked up by those guys.
So you’ve blown up on the Kansas City Blues Scene. Tell us a little about the scene there?!
Well I can’t say my favorites because that’s “against the code”, but you know, the Kansas City blues scene is flourishing! It’s alive and well. We’ve got a ton of great acts, Trampled Under Foot… Mary Bridget Davies was there for a spell. It’s really a vibrant scene. There’s a lot of blues stuff going on every night! People might not guess it but there is. There’s a lot of great energy coming out of K.C. right now!
You’ve got great blues clubs, Blues Music Award Nominees (Trampled Under Foot), Blues Music Award Winners (Samantha), and all of this was just this year. Your’e tearing it up over there!
(It’s about here that Sam gets called to light off fireworks for the fourth of July. Later, she’ll be shoed back inside by the “no personal fireworks” rule!)
I have to be careful! I need all my fingers. I don’t need anything else… maybe a nose. I could give a toe for the Fourth of July! Just this once!
Tell us about your new band!
Well I’ve got Go-Go Ray on the drums. He won the 2010 Roland Championship in Las Vegas, which is huge for drummers. Roland’s like an electronic drum set and they have a big, worldwide competition. He won in 2010. I picked him up back in October and he’s just a monster. Then I’ve got Chris Alexander. I picked him up just about a month ago in June. I got him through Mike Zito, who he used to pay with down in Austin! It’s been so great! We just got back from a west coast tour two days ago.
I want to hash out this Girls with Guitars a little more. It was a great project, and we want to be sure everybody knows about it. Can you explain it?
Yeah! It was a collaborative project put together by Ruf Records. They do a blues caravan every year. They send three artists out on the road, and 2011 was the Girls With Guitars tour. I was picked alongside Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde to team up with this drummer with France, and we got to play all over Europe and speckled states — a lot of the Midwest and the blues cruise!
That was a big deal! It seemed to get a lot of press!
We have a great team. Ruf Records, Piedmont Talent… they know how to push things. I feel like they threw a lot of fire out there. I think it was the juxtaposition of three girls. People came out for that, and I think we did our best to give them an incredible show, and I think we surprised a lot of people. They came for the legs and stayed for the talent!
I remember when you were approached about the Girls with Guitars idea, you were also considering trying for the International Blues Challenge. You decided to go with Girls With Guitars. Do you think you made the right choice, there?
I really believe I did. I know the IBC has done wonderful things for many people — it’s a great route to take. I was presented with this great opportunity, and I spoke with Mike, who’s been my mentor, my advisor. I was pretty on the fence about the Girls with Guitar stuff. I was worried about the whole girls with guitars; I didn’t want it to be a gimmick. So that’s why we really strived to make it something to be reckoned with. I really feel like I made the right decision. And it got me out there and it got me a lot of attention. I get to do my thing now!
You got that right! Being a young, acclaimed, award-winning musician… what kind of advice do you have for those working towards a career in this?
Practice. Practice your butt off! Just work har,d and I always tell people, don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t work out or a deal falls through, because if you try enough times it’s just a matter of odds. Something’s going to happen. Just keep working at it and take it seriously!
I think you’ve got some people waiting to get pyromaniacal with you!
Ha! Yeah! Last year this time, I was in England with Dani Wilde. I thought, I’m going to celebrate! I don’t care if this is England! So I went out looking for fireworks…
It’s not going to happen. It’s not really a day they want to celebrate!!!
I found that out the hard way! I found that out after going into several shops asking, “hey do you guys have fireworks? I’m American and I want to celebrate!” “Better walk down the street sweetheart.” (laughs)
So tell people where they can find more about you and this great album of yours, Runaway?
SamanthaFish.com. I’m on Ruf Record’s website and Piedmont’s website, which you can find through my site. You can get the album off of iTunes, or better yet, through my website! I’ll send it directly to you, with a note if you want it! And I’ll sign it. You can’t get that on iTunes! I’m also on Facebook! I’ve got a smartphone so I’m always tied in.
Thanks a lot! Go blow some stuff up! Great to see you again, Sam.