Singer, songwriter, guitarist and surely one of the hardest working artists in music today, Samantha Fish released her second album of 2017 'Belle Of The West' in mid-November and if you think Blues playing women are all about Joanne Shaw Taylor and Chantelle McGregor, it may be time to think again. Although primarily known for her Blues sound, this new album showcases a stripped down, acoustic style including both Country and Bluegrass influences giving the album a very personal feel.
'American Dream' an acoustic campfire style song with simple guitar, violin and penny whistle (fife?), opens the album and sets the tone of what's to come, and as this carries seamlessly into 'Blood In The Water' with the first appearance of subtle electric guitar in the mid section, it’s clear that, although recorded in Mississippi, Nashville wasn't far away. 'Need You More' mixes the standard Blues sentiment of heartbreak with a Country and Western feel, while 'Cowtown' continues in the same vein but includes electric and bass guitars, giving it a more band like feel.
The Blues are more to the fore on 'Daughters' but with the principal characters “making their way down to Lafayette”, the song, although slightly downbeat, has a “dyin’ with ya boots on” feel, and retains the Country elements whilst giving them a Blues makeover. One thing you notice whilst listening to this collection of songs is how each number perfectly compliments the one that went before it. This is demonstrated nicely on 'Don’t Say You Love Me' keeping the tone downbeat in the mid section of the album, but with some great guitar work and vocals, a very personal song before things become a bit lighter and the title track kicks in.
Unashamedly Country would be one way to describe 'Belle Of The West', another would be an excellent Bluegrass style song that someone like Alison Krauss would be proud of. A great song featuring slide guitar and given depth with the addition of backing vocals. A personal highlight of the whole album. 'Poor Black Mattie' is an absolute free for all romp, from the opening Rockabilly bass, to the delta Blues harmonica, based around a repetitive riff, it’s a cover version of a song which sounds like it’s been played on the porch of many a Mississippi cotton field. 'No Angels' follows, keeping the same style, adding some gentle guitar and soft backing vocals, another excellent song.
Violinist Lillie Mae, steps up to share vocal duties on 'Nearing Home' and her strings, accompanied with Samantha’s acoustic guitar, are all that’s really needed on this very gentle song, sounding like it was recorded in one take live in the studio, a perfect example of just how good this album is. Time for the closing track and 'Gone For Good'. It’s an upbeat foot tapping acoustic number on which Samantha truly shines and is a great way to finish a very original and classy album. This is an album which will not only enhance Samantha Fish’s growing reputation, but should see her fan base growing, as anyone who likes good songwriting in a Blues and Country style, will surely find this CD completely irresistible.