Samantha Fish the Belle of The West on this Album

Samantha Fish the Belle of The West on this AlbumSamantha Fish is the Belle of The West on her second studio album of 2017. Belle Of The West takes us on a completely different musical journey a complete contrast to Chills & Fever. For this album, Samantha has gone deep into the roots of Blues, country and Mississippi Hill Country music. Samantha Fish has pushed aside preconceptions about her, kicking the door open to break boundaries and let her creativity, artistry and golden talent shine through as she takes the title as Belle of The West.

Samantha travelled to Zebra Ranch to record the album retracing the footsteps taken with Wild Heart (2015)  with the influence of Luther Dickinson and friends shining through but never dampening or curtailing the heady heights and depths of Fish interpretation of the blues her way.

Opening with American Dream the click of drums sticks beat of the drum and life gets the listener marching to Fish’s branded form of acoustic fuelled country blues.  With Luther Dickinson as the producer, we are promised from the first number a studio album that flexes its muscles with a natural fluidity the instruments and vocals find the tone taking the tune and vocals to unfold all the depths of roots music with a story to tell.  The tempo goes down and Sam’s vocals deepen as we find out why there is Blood In the Water. With fiddles and guitar, the story will not be a happy one as Lillie Mae on violin picks up with a haunting melodic riff. Infectious, beguiling as roots of Eastern European folk are entwined into hill country music. The sound is held together by the power and confidence of Samantha’s vocals. This is an original that just demands being heard on repeat.

The storytelling is the theme of the album, not power guitar chords and fast electric sound. The inclusion of the band talking before the music begins gives the album a personal and warm feeling. This is studio music kept close to the live sound. Now we are in another bar another hotel room alone with guitar and violin waiting for a call. Samantha captures the emotions and draws them out on every syllable sung we connect to her as she sings ‘Needing you more than you will ever know. We here all the conversations we have left unsaid’, emotions never shared and loneliness we have experienced as we get up close to the vocal glories that define the Belle of The West.

In between the originals are a trio of carefully chosen covers fitting perfectly as a glove into the tone and feel of the album. With Poor Black Mattie the tempo rises to match the beating of your pulse as the music soars through your soul sending tingles down your spine. RL Burnside feel and magic captured as Fish answers to Lightnin’ Malcolm’s call as gospel captured with some sweet harp lead breaks.  Lillie Mae’s Nearing Home is luscious full curling violin and as Samantha’s vocals take a dreamy air as the melody is woven into the lyrics.  Capping them is the title track from the pen of Jimbo Mathus.  We now are on the river riding the lady we love best. The music and tone shaped by the undulation on the river that like the whole album on every listen you hear another nuance and the deeper meanings behind the songs chosen by Samantha Fish.

With the deep bass, Samantha Fish on No Angels has backing vocals that add to the vibe and gives her something to work on as we find out there is No Angel around here full of deep bass grooves the Mississippi flows strongly through the music that captivates.  Samantha surrounded by quality musicians that add to the tracks, the central role throughout is the vocals that have a depth that colour the lyrics and shapes them with emotional maturity, empathy and understanding. The music is genuine and authentic, this is the sound that Fish wants to define her as 2017 closes. As the album reaches its finale we have Nearing Home percussive full lilting sound from the violin and Samantha poses the question where are we going? With a slowness that builds and weaves throughout the song.  Then the final track Gone For Good, leaving us with a foot tapping number. Gone for Good has a rawness, dirtier sound reflecting the lyrics and a celebration you are gone for good. Raw and dirty leaving you shouting don’t go Samantha Fish. Giving you the perfect excuse to slow down and sit back and rewind back to the beginning. You will cherish the time spent listening to the classy album Belle of The West.

The album is full of songs that just take time to get to know, this is an album that is not the product of the digital Download, listen for a few seconds or once then throw away. Belle of The West is an album to savour, get to know the intricacies of the instrumentation the style of the vocals capturing emotions as the story unfolds. Like friends, invest the time and get to know Samantha Fish, Belle of the West whether this is a pit stop on a journey of a musician maturing and developing her approach to blues. One thing is a certainty that like a good vintage on the sound, it grows in complexity with every tasty listen.

Belle of the West – Samantha FishRUF Records

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

    1. American Dream
    2. Blood In The Water
    3. Need You More
    4. Cowtown
    5. Daughters
    6. Dan’t Say You Love Me
    7. Belle of the West
    8. Poor Black Mattie
    9. No Angels
    10. Nearing Home
    11. Gone For Good

     

    Samantha Fish the Belle of The West on this Album

Tom Waits contributing to Blind Willie Johnson Tribute Album

Tom Waits contributing to Blind Willie Johnson Tribute Album

Tom Waits contributing to Blind Willie Johnson Tribute Album

 

 

A stunning collection of artists and performances celebrate the timeless music of legendary gospel bluesman Blind Willie Johnson. From Derek Trucks’ and Susan Tedeschi’s reverent reading of ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning’ to ‘Lucinda Williams’ slide guitar-fueled lament in ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine,’ from Luther Dickinson’s spirited take on ‘Bye And Bye I’m Going To See The King’ (with The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band) to Tom Waits’ virtual embodiment of Johnson himself on ‘The Soul Of A Man’ and ‘John The Revelator’, this record is packed with incomparable recordings that speak as much to the greatness of the performers as they do the enduring legacy of Blind Willie Johnson.
 

‘GOD DON’T NEVER CHANGE: THE SONGS OF BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON’ AVAILABLE 26TH FEBRUARY

HEAR TOM’S VERSION OF ‘THE SOUL OF A MAN’

Tom Waits has lent his voice and soul to a stunning collection of performances celebrating legendary gospel bluesman Blind Willie Johnson. ‘God Don’t Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson’ is out through Alligator Records on 26th February and features two contributions by Tom, ‘The Soul of a Man’ and ‘John The Revelator,’ both originally recorded by Johnson in 1930.

CD Review: Samantha Fish ~ Wild Heart

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Samantha Fish
Wild Heart
RUF Records

 

This is the album that will definitely place Samantha Fish at the top; she has achieved a double accolade on her third studio album with vocals full of energy and precision in her delivery combined with guitar playing that lifts the roof off and shows this is a woman who relishes being a Wild Heart of the blues. It is a fitting follow-up to Black Wind Howlin’ which we said was “ …a weather vane of sound as the wind changes direction the tonal range shifts”.

The whole album has a vitality and energy that pours out of the speakers brightening up the room where the music cascades this is a feel good album from Sam; who has a natural talent that is fuelled by deft fingers and vocal chords that shape and deliver the song.

Opening with Road Runner; this is no cartoon character but music with a country blues twang that is being delivered by a musician who just has to play her music, powerful chords and impeccable timing, and wild licks starts the Wild Heart a listening experience that continues over the next eleven tracks. The blues women and guitars can trace their lineage back to Rosetta Thorpe; through to the greats of now Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi and in the U.K. Joanne Shaw Taylor with her searing guitar breaks, and now into the mix is most definitely Sam Fish with her superb slide and cigar box guitar adding a distinctive tonal cadence. Added into the mix is the accomplished band of musicians that she has gathered around her including a rhythm section, Luther Dickinson on Bass & Grammy Award winning drummer Brady Blade, together they combine a rhythmic dexterity that keeps the shape of every style of roots music being delivered on the album.

What sets the album apart from many is that it is so listenable with the combination of vocals that drag every meaning out of the lyrics whether on a cover, a track penned by herself or co-written. from the country rootsy feel of Blame It On The Moon with her vocals howling with a wildness that has to be moon fever; or Go Home a gentle melodic sitting on the porch tale as she sings “Wrapped those secrets around a telephone pole” this is a reflective song on how families and home shape you. Then there are tracks like Turn It Up where the heat is turned up the guitars and vocals wail in a Southern Rock swampy number that gets the adrenalin going; it is a breathtaking number that for me defines the very bluesy greasy groove that is the essence of Samantha Fish’s appeal.
This is a superbly and sensitively produced album, demonstrating what a master Luther Dickinson (north Mississippi All Stars /Black Crowes) is when it comes to understanding what is required in the process of creating an album drenched in the complexity that is music rooted in the fertile musical lexicon that is American roots music. Luther has distilled the essence of Samantha through her pulsating fingers on the frets, lyrical singing resulting in a perfume of musical depth and complexity flowing wild and free from your speakers it is truly on every track a Wild Heart.

What an album… for me the music was… Simply Addictive

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Band
Samantha Fish: Vocals/Guitar
Luther Dickinson: Bass Guitar/Lap Steel/Mandolin/Lead Guitar
Dominic Davis: Bass (Track 8)
Lightnin’ Malcolm: Guitar (Track 6)
Brady Blade: Drums (Tracks 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11)
Sharde Thomas: Drums (Tracks 6)
Shontelle Norman-Beatty: Vocals
Sisse Norman: Vocals

Tracks

1. Road Runner (Samantha Fish)
2. Place To Fall (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
3. Blame It On The Moon (Samantha Fish)
4. Highway’s Holding Me Now (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
5. Go Home (Samantha Fish)
6. Jim Lee Blues Pt. 1 ( Charley Paton)
7. Turn It Up (Samantha Fish)
8. Show Me (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
9. Lost Myself (Samantha Fish)
10. Wild Heart (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
11. Bitch On The Run (Samantha Fish / Jim McCormick)
12. I’m In Love With You (Junior Kimbrough)

CD Review: Ian Siegal ~ The Picnic Sessions

picnicIan Siegal
The Picnic Sessions
Nugene Records

Once again award winning country/blues maestro of vocals and guitar has delivered an album that is different, very special yet 24 carat Ian Siegal in all his guises. The album recorded at Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch in the style of Mississippi Porch approach, where they sat in a semi-circle around old ribbon microphones, played and sang with the old tape machine switched on the old tape machine – Picnic Sessions is the result it is as we played and felt the music it is a natural sound reflecting the mood of the moment.

There is a mix of new, old and something blue and to the 16 tracks Bluesdoodles was delighted to hear live two from an early album Standing In The MorningHow Come You’re Still Here and Beulah Land where you can imagine sitting on a carriage with a pair of horses in hand the dust being kicked up and the sun high in the sky he paints in music and words a musical country embroidery. Love the creativity as Ian goes off piste and we have the sounds of Topol and Fiddler On The Roof, Eastern European beat and swirling of dancers around the fire then seamlessly returning to the original country tempo and beat. Then two favourites from his solo shows and recorded on Man and GuitarGallo Del Cielo and Hard Times (Come Again No More) showing the power of these two tracks and how you never hear them done quite the same way twice.

The rest of the album is new tracks including little hidden insights conversation shows how the tracks are being developed on the hoof as heard on Keen and Peachy which has a haunting sound and the first time ever hear car seat and ceviche in the same sentence.

Wasted Freedom is simple guitar and Siegal combo full of poetry of love lost and regrets that cannot be put right it is a compelling song that for me is a Siegal blues delight. There is fun on the album as well with Talkin’ Overseas Pirate Blues, with a spoken intro that is harking back to the style of talking blues and Now Its A Party with the mandolin the perfect accompaniment to create a tune that hints at dancing

This album is not all about Ian Siegal’s guitar and voice it is the musicianship of Cody Dickinson, Alvin Youngbloodheart Luther Dickinson and Jimbo Mathus. The collection of instruments played adds a quality that would never have been found if this was a studio album. It is the fact that they grabbed the nearest instrument and joined in that makes this album an unpolished gem that shines because the mastery is encompassed in the music and freedom of expression and not by magic tricks of the mixing desk and post-production wizardry.

This is not a blues album for the purist but it is a must purchase for everyone who loves free flowing live music that is a meshing of styles and tempos creating a cohesive sound that is Ian Siegal and his Merry Musicians around that virtual campfire.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN + + doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Band

Ian Siegal – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Luther Dickinson – Guitar, Mandolin, Mandocello, Bass, Vocals
Alvin Youngblood Hart – Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica, Vocals
Jimbo Mathus – Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Vocals
Cody Dickinson – Whoogie Board

Tour Dates – November 2014

Devon Allman -Turquoise CD Review

turquoise-300x245Devon Allman
Turquoise – Released February 12, 2013
Ruf Records

Sometimes, a gem of an album you keep listening to fails to make it to the top of the review pile and this is what happened to Turquoise, which is definitely Devon Allman’s solo project so open your ears listen with no pre-judgement as this is a distinctly different sound and style to his current band Royal Southern Brotherhood, Honeytribe. The album is part of the musical evolution for Devon as he is creating a musical tree full of interesting branches bearing very different fruit. Turquoise is eleven classy tracks which tell their own story; they all have real meaning to Devon and are on the album for a reason and not just as time fillers. The production is class as you would expect from Jim Gaines, letting the songs shine through, with strong backing from Yonrico Scott on drums and Myles Weeks on bass and some rather special guest appearances including Luther Dickinson with his own distinctive guitar sound and who, like Devon, is carrying the weight of being a son of a musical great, and Samantha Fish. Throughout the album it is Devon’s voice and guitar skills that shine through, but for me the album is about the song and his melodic voice. Each track has a unique feel, despite this the album flows beautifully with none of the tracks jarring with the previous or the next to come. Opening the album with a rockier number Into The Darkness is a gentle introduction to Devon flying solo as it is in a style you would expect. This also makes picking out highlights almost impossible as every time you listen a different track is fixed in your mind. Key Lime Pie, makes you smile with its homage to Devon’s favourite dessert, has a holiday feel and definitely bought the sun with its shuffle into the room on this cold winter day. Stop Dragging My Heart Around, sees the perfect blending of Devon’s voice and Samantha Fish as a new, slower, bluesier approach to this Tom Petty tune delights the listener and a little bit of country cannot be ignored as found on When I Left Home and then the beautiful Latino feel of There’s No Time, reflecting Southern Texas Latino influences. This is without doubt a polished début solo album that has a confidence about itself that comes through Devon focussing on what is important to him demonstrating this young man has the voice and sound and authentic talent of his own. Devon has deftly woven styles of southern music together blending country rock, latino creating an album full of emotion and soul this is a singer/songwriter that will continue to deliver; very much looking forward to following Devon Allman on his musical journey.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of NINE doodle paws a doodle rating of

TEN ……… pawprint half inch

Album Listing
When I Left Home (Devon Allman)
Don’t Set Me Free (Allman / Zito)
Time Machine (Devon Allman)
Stop Draggin My Heart Around
There’s No Time (Allman / Stokes)
Strategy (Allman / Zito)
Homesick (Devon Allman)
Into the Darkness (Devon Allman)
Key Lime Pie (Devon Allman)
Yadira’s Lullaby (Devon Allman)
Turn Off the World (Devon Allman)

Mississippi Blues Part 2 – North Mississippi Allstars Gig & CD Review

Mississippi Blues @ St Bonaventures, Bristol 22nd October 2013 Part 2 – North Mississippi Allstars
North Mississippi Allstars - Bristol - Oct 2013_0108bwl
This is another Bluesdoodles combined Gig & CD review

No wonder this was a sell out gig two quality acts for the price of one, no one can call North Mississippi Allstars (NMAS) as subtle, laid back or conventional, what they are is artistic, feeling the beat and shaping the music to create dark rhythms, wild beats and musicality of the top drawer every note that can be possibly be created on a guitar is meshed together to create this unique blues fuelled party. The NMAS create this sound out of a chaotic and at times seeming random connection of melody and lyrics but it works on stage and in the recording studio. It is due to the immense talent and mutual understanding of the Dickinson brothers Cody & Luther who are the backbone and fronts-men of this band with the combination of Luther’s guitar skills with his silky and seductive slide skills combined with energy and at times anger that makes the guitar squeal, sing and weep at you drawing you into the sound reaching deep into your soul; and Cody’s inspired, intuitive and free-form drumming and percussive skills no wonder his boogie sound is the bands trademark!. This is a sound that is driven and the drive makes you want to have fun and enjoy being in their company as much as they enjoy playing for the crowded venue in Bristol. The energy is created by Luther who hardly stays still for a second as he prowls around the small stage looking for an outlet for is pent-up energy, and he does through the music. This is certainly not simply a duo since joining them on stage to provide the bass line is Lightnin’ Malcolm who hardly had time to draw breath from his own opening set and then there is the fantastic interaction and stage craft as they play musical chairs when Cody moves from behind the drum kit out front to for the folksy, ‘Train I Ride’ where he played electro-washboard linked up to a WahWah pedal creating a uniquely Allstars sound; or stomp and boom with the big bass drum held aloft, so Lightnin’ Malcolm now has the drummers role and Luther plays on sometimes with a Coffee Can Diddly Bow. Then it is all change again as the energy rises amongst the band and the excited foot stomping crowd as they all don drums and walk amongst the crowded room making the beat pour out throughout the room wow what a sound as they did their own rendition like you have never heard before of ‘Does Your Dog Bite’ what an atmosphere. Throughout the night all three musicians played multiple instruments sometimes the bass, other times lead guitar or the drums seemingly on a whim but it all made perfect musical sense. Exceptional! This is a unique innovative, and thoroughly enjoyable progressive Blues incorporating sounds from the woods, hills and any genre that feels right in the moment, this is a live sound that you need to have been there to have felt the beat and absorbed the mystery that is the North Mississippi Allstars. The stand out tracks for me played tonight was the opening on the encore ‘Goin’ To Brownsville’, ‘Goat Meat’ and ‘World Boogie’. Fantastic music and atmosphere in a crowded, hot and sweaty bar, all too soon we had a reality check as we stepped into the damp dark evening in Bristol and left the steamy swamps of Mississippi behind us.

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wbic-cover-hp North Mississippi – CD – ‘World Boogie is Coming’

The production of the record is superb and it is novel how the CD is divided into four segments the first three reminiscent of a gig – Set 1, 2 and an encore then the film and bonus track; encapsulating what makes the North Mississippi Allstars so popular and how they always look to do their music a little bit differently. Any album that gets you excited about a version of ‘Rollin’ and a Tumblin’ has to go to the top of the pile in my records and the version on “World Boogie is Coming”; by Mississippi Allstars certainly does, this is a fantastic update of the loved song with use of Luther’s vocal and a Coffee Tin Diddle Bow, a metal resonator that takes you down to the earthy, muddy dirt driven blues of making music from what is available while sitting on a stoop. The whole album is as fresh as a daisy full of verve, vim and vigour, whether revamping old favourites including ‘My Babe’ , that sleazes its way into your musical lexicon with the gentle penny whistle and hypnotic drumming and the contrasting vocals of Luther. The whole album has an anarchic, chaotic frenetic feel as they make music that makes you sit up and listen this is artistry, this is different and with tracks like ‘Boogie’, whilst is using traditional blues rhythm they add a modern direction and freshness so that you want to dance and stomp around the house leaving boredom, the chores and the reality of life behind you. This is an album that has some impressive guests including Robert Plant playing quality harmonica on ‘Goat Meat’ and the compatriots, that have worked with them on myriad projects including Ian Siegal & Mississippii Mudbloods, including Duwayne & Garry Burnside, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sharde Thomas and many more. There can be no doubt that this is the best album they have released so far, it is an infectious re-configuring of the blues that holds your attention and leaves you wanting more and throughout the album you have a feeling it will be even better live and the gig at St Bonaventure’s confirmed that it is despite losing some of the studio tricks and the loss of the backing singers. The length of the tracks vary some are mere snippets whilst others go on for a glorious ten minutes such as
‘Jumper on the Track’. This is an anthem of a song that should be played at least once a day, bringing the Burnside classic straight into the 21st century with its chugging line, vocals that are as clear as a bell delivering words so relevant for today; the mix is perfect my only complaint is it all too quickly comes to an end – now that is the advantage of CDs so easier to set to replay and on random you get a mix that the studio never intended but then you are becoming part of the NMAS anarchic approach to the blues.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
pawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inch

Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods @The Garage, Islington

Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods @ The Garage, Islington 8th May 2013


The support tonight was provided by a micro version of Dave Migden & The Dirty Words, comprising Dave accompanied by guitarist Joe Gibson, and what a fine duo they make delivering some superb covers including Taj Mahal’s ‘Fishing Blues’ interspersed with stripped back versions of numbers from ‘Killing It’, their recent acclaimed CD; with Reverend Jack Crow being quite sublime in this pared back acoustic version. This was a great performance including some new tracks demonstrating once again why they are storming the circuit at the moment and were definitely an ideal opening act, with Dave’s voice and their own unique and stylish take on the blues, for the only UK gig of Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods. This was a sizzling evening which started on top form as the band opened up with ‘Picnic Jam’; featuring Luther’s slide guitar skills and great harmonising interplay between Ian and Luther. And layered on top of this wall of sound is Ian’s voice what a start to a set that just got better and better with the bar being constantly raised as they just played to ever higher standards. This is a band that enjoys the music and interplay between them and they never forget that it is audience they have to please so this is not a self-indulgent performance but one that takes the crowd with them who enjoyed every note and would have been happy if there had been no curfew and the band could have played on through the night.

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The performance of ‘I am The Train’, which has developed into a great live number and is simply just fantastic and shows why this track has been nominated in the 2013 British Blues Awards, shows why the song has become synonymous with the latest album ‘Candy Store Kid’; This format with Luther on guitar allows Ian freedom that is not always available in the trio format, so his voice can really dominate and the extra guitar gives another layer of sound and when Luther plays the slide there is a rawness that slinks and slithers you all the way back to the darkest depths of a dirty prehistoric swamp… with the support of a superb rhythm section comprising Cody Dickinson (drums) and Carwyn Ellis (bass) to complete the sound sketching that draws you ever deeper into the darkness of a swampy bayou; as evidenced by the low down dirty rendition of ‘King Fish’. Then my head almost exploded as an old Siegal favourite ‘She’s Got The Devil in Her’ hit the airwaves; which has appeared on many a live set list and always performed differently as the story and musical techniques are developed – tonight was a simply superb version – for me it was sex on a guitar! The ending of for me an all too short set was a jam with Luther being experimental with the creative use of feedback creating a hauntingly effect an resulted in an unexpected creative finish. The evening would not have been complete without Ian; finishing with a moving tribute to Big George a truly fine Glaswegian bluesman, who has been an important part of Ian’s life; ‘Take a walk in The Wilderness’. The encore a clever rendition of ‘Hard Pressed’; with various tunes threaded through including Prince’s Sign of The Times; and closing with a beautiful version of ‘Forever Young’… phew what a fizzing evening of music which delivered the full gamut of emotions, the atmosphere was hot and steamy and everyone was energized by a great event of live music.
Ian Siegal and Mississippi Mudbloods - The Garage - May 2013_0187l
There is no doubt that the music played tonight by both acts is blues that is relevant modern and the sound of now, it is not trying to recreate a sound of yesteryear but taking the genre to places that need to be explored. This is music that is a live sound thus firmly rooted to the original bluesmen and women who toured and played to live audiences using equipment and techniques available; think what their talent would be producing if they had the resources available in the twenty-first century! I am pretty darn sure it would be very different from the traditional and dare I say it often bluesy Blues being produced by bands that are scared to loosen the apron strings of ‘blues tradition….

Ian Siegal and Mississippi Mudbloods - The Garage - May 2013_0280l

Missed this brilliant gig – Ian Siegal and The Mississippi Mudbloods are back in UK later this year appearing at various venues including at Gloucester Guildhall, 7th November 2013 The Flowerpot, Derby on 8th November 2013, courtesy of RAW Promo and Carlisle Rock & Blues Festival 8 – 10th November 2013, which includes two performances including the Mudbloods unplugged.