Music

Samantha Fish: Wild Heart

Fish proclaims her independence and need for no one else. Of course, nothing in life is quite as simple as the volume of guitar riffs reveal. Sexual desire can get in the way of pride.


Samantha Fish

Wild Heart

Label: Ruf
US Release Date: 2015-07-10
UK Release Date: 2015-07-10
Label website
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

Kansas City's Samantha Fish's latest album of deep American blooz rock was recently released during the week of July 4 (okay, the date was July 10—this is technically true) on the German-based label Ruf. Europeans have always appreciated American blues more than its native born—just ask the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc.—but one would hope a performer as charismatic and talented as Fish could at least find a big enough audience in the states to release her latest gutbucket of earthiness.

Wild Heart is Fish's third studio release and shows her advanced progression as a writer and performer. The songs are tighter and more developed. Her playing increasingly filled with nastier licks that break off and cut. Her voice powerfully reaches for emotion before she letting her axe take over. Some of this may be due to Luther Dickinson's production, which allows Fish expansive room to express herself. Dickinson also plays various stringed instruments on the disc, and employs notables such as Brady Blade on drums and Memphis session singers Shontelle Norman-Beatty and Risse Norman on backup vocals.

Fish recorded the album in Memphis, Tennessee, Shreveport, Louisiana and Hernando, Mississippi. The Memphis material offers a sense of urban isolation. Take Fish's six-minute opus to giving up and starting over, "Go Home". The track captures the misery of not having a home to go home to while not being able to stay where one is. The a-ha moment of doing what's right is tempered by the fact that one has been done wrong for so long. It's the American dream of the city as a shiny object when one is better off returning to one's roots. But as Thomas Wolfe famously said, one can't go home again, and one never really wants to anyway.

In contrast is Fish's acoustic take on Charley Patton's "Jim Lee Blues Part 1" recorded in Mississippi. The narrator, like that of "Go Home" has no mother and father and has to make it by oneself in an uncaring world. Fish's take on the country blues reveals her ability to let the music breathe and allow the spaces between the words, between the notes, say as much as the sounds do. Or in this case, the sounds of silence suggests the emptiness she feels.

The title song, like the rest of the Shreveport material, rocks with a sneer. She's not pining for the past or complaining about the present, Fish proclaims her independence and need for no one else. Of course, nothing in life is quite as simple as the volume of guitar riffs reveal. Sexual desire can get in the way of pride. Words are just words when feelings get in the way, especially when they are primal urges.

Fish ends the album with a gentle version of Junior Kimbrough's "I'm in Love With You". The tender expressions of love show another side of the human experience. The world may be a malevolent place where everyone is out for one's self. But we need at least one other person to share our life with for it to have meaning. And isn't that mixture of conflicted emotions always been what the blues has are about? Fish eloquently displays her understanding of this.

7

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image