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Samantha Fish

Samantha Fish

Jerry Lee Gingery & The Juju Kings

Fri, March 15, 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Castle Theatre

Bloomington, IL

$17 (Advance) / $20 (Day of Show)

Ticket Prices listed do NOT include additional Ticket Fees added at online checkout & box office

Samantha Fish
Samantha Fish
"You should always get outside of the box," Samantha Fish says while discussing her boundary-breaking new album Belle of the West. "Challenging yourself is how you grow."

After launching her recording career in 2009, Samantha Fish quickly established herself as a rising star in the contemporary blues world. Since then, the charismatic young singer-guitarist-songwriter has earned a reputation as a rising guitar hero and powerful live performer, while releasing a series of acclaimed albums that have shown her restless creative spirit consistently taking her in new and exciting musical directions.

The New York Times called Fish "an impressive blues guitarist who sings with sweet power" and "one of the genre's most promising young talents." Her hometown paper The Kansas City Star noted, "Samantha Fish has kicked down the door of the patriarchal blues club" and observed that the young artist "displays more imagination and creativity than some blues veterans exhibit over the course of their careers."

Having already made it clear that she's more interested in following her heart than she is in repeating past triumphs, Samantha Fish delivers some of her most compelling music to date with Belle of the West, her fifth studio album. The deeply soulful, personally charged 11-song set showcases Fish's sublime acoustic guitar skills as well as her rootsy, emotionally resonant songwriting.

Such memorable new originals as "American Dream," "Blood in the Water," "Need You More" and "Don't Say You Love Me" demonstrate the artist's knack for organic Americana songcraft, while a trio of cover tunes—R.L. Burnside's "Poor Black Mattie," Lillie Mae's "Nearing Home" and the Jimbo Mathus-penned title track—attest to her substantial interpretive skills as well as her varied musical interests.

"To me, this is a natural progression," Fish notes. "It's a storytelling record by a girl who grew up in the Midwest. It's very personal. I really focused on the songwriting and vocals, the melodies and emotion, and on bringing another dimension to what I do. I wasn't interested in shredding on guitar, although we ended up with a few heavier tracks. I love Mississippi blues; there's something very soulful and very real about that style of music, so this was a chance to immerse myself in that."

Fish recorded Belle of the West in the relaxed, rural creative atmosphere of the legendary Zebra Ranch Studios in the North Hills of Mississippi with producer Luther Dickinson (of North Mississippi Allstars fame), with whom she worked previously on her 2015 album Wild Heart. The studio team included some of the region's most iconoclastic musicians, including Dickinson, solo artist and Jack White associate Lillie Mae (whose distinctive vocals are featured on "Nearing Home"), much-traveled juke- joint blues artist Lightnin' Malcolm (whose featured on "Poor Black Mattie"), Squirrel Nut Zippers founder Jimbo Mathus, upright bassist and beloved solo artist Amy LaVere, Tikyra Jackson, Trina Raimey and Shardé Thomas, granddaughter of the legendary Southern bluesman Otha Turner.

"I wanted to do this acoustic-electric record, and tap into the style and swagger of Mississippi," Fish states, adding, "Any time you dive into another place, another vibe and a new group of people, you're challenging yourself to grow musically. I felt very at home a Zebra Ranch, and I've known Luther and Malcolm for years, so it was a very comfortable situation. When you're making a record like this, it has to feel natural if you want people to respond to it.

Belle of the West follows on the heels of Fish's March 2017 release Chills & Fever, which achieved top 10 status in the Billboard Blues charts. Here she expanded her stylistic arsenal to take on a set of lesser-known vintage R&B gems, with help from members of garage-soul stalwarts the Detroit Cobras. "Having these two very different records come out back to back this year has been really liberating," says Samantha.

The creative drive that fuels Belle of the West and Chills & Fever has been a crucial element of Samantha Fish's approach from the beginning. Growing up in a musical family in Kansas City, Missouri, she became obsessed with music early life, taking up drums before switching to guitar at the age of 15. By the time she was 20, she had formed her own trio and self-released her first album. She soon caught the ear of the renowned blues label Ruf Records, which in 2011 released Girls with Guitars, which teamed her with fellow axewomen Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. The same year saw Ruf release Fish's solo studio debut Runaway. The album was named Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis.

Black Wind Howlin' (2013) and Wild Heart (2015) followed, winning considerable critical acclaim and further establishing Fish as a prominent presence in the blues community. Wild Heart reached the top slot on Billboard's blues chart. She also collaborated with blues-rock veterans Jimmy Hall and Reese Wynans on the 2013 project The Healers. The same year, she jammed onstage with blues icon Buddy Guy, and guested on Devon Allman's album Turquoise.

Fish continues to maintain the same hardworking, prolific approach that's carried her this far. "I think I've always had that," she says. "Music is my life, so what other choice do I have but to go out and make music? We do tour quite a bit, and maybe it's kind of crazy to put out two dramatically different albums in one year. But I like to work hard. This is who I am and this is what I do, and when I'm writing and recording and touring is when I feel the most like myself. And now we have a moment where people are paying attention, so I have to make the most of it. I feel like I have a lot to say right now, so why not say it?"

As far as Samantha Fish is concerned, her musical future is an open road. "I'm never gonna be a traditional blues artist, because that's not who I am," she asserts. "But it's all the blues for me. When Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf came out, what they were doing didn't sound like anything that had been done in blues before. You've gotta keep that kind of fire and spirit. I'm never gonna do Muddy Waters better than Muddy Waters, so I have to be who I am and find my best voice.
Jerry Lee Gingery & The Juju Kings
Jerry Lee Gingery & The Juju Kings ……….Southside of Nowhere

Brought up in a split family and raised by a single mother on the edge of poverty, many times Jerry Lee Gingery was made to feel like an outcast in society. Most people would associate this style of upbringing as being born on the “wrong side of the tracks”, but this was not the case with Jerry Lee. Even though he grew up on the “wrong side’, it felt like the “right side” to him. It was all he knew. It was home and his start in life. When times got tough and the blues set in, he would always reach for his guitar and dig in to his music. This always gave him the energy he needed to fight and claw his way out of the “Southside of Nowhere” which is the title song for his new CD.

Jerry Lee’s commitment to the Blues was born in Chicago when he was just a teenager. He attended a Howlin’ Wolf performance and was invited to sit in on bass guitar for a few songs. After sitting in, he sat with the audience about five feet from Howlin’ Wolf performing “Decoration Day” and was truly moved by the blues. He couldn’t believe the power, real pain and sorrow that came from just one man’s voice, three chords and the truth. It was experiences such as this which motivated Jerry Lee to explore the mysteries of his guitar and to master the grooves he could create with his bass guitar from that point on.

After recording his first release “Mojo Palace” in 2002, many years slugging it out in the Midwest bar scene and a forced hiatus due to some unscheduled health issues, Jerry Lee came back to the music scene with a new found fire in his belly. In the spring of 2012 he formed Jerry Lee & The Juju Kings with his good friends Eddie Narakas on guitar, Rob Aguilera on drums, and Richard “RJ” Westrick on keys. Together, the chemistry was so good that by the fall of 2012 they won the Prairie Crossroads Blues Society’s “Road To Memphis” blues challenge. This propelled them on to the International Blues Challenge in January of 2013 where they rocked the house at the famed Rum Boogie on Beale Street in Memphis. They returned to the Midwest and proceeded to rock and delight audiences at several major blues festivals during the summer of 2013. After witnessing how well his new music was being accepted at these events, Jerry decided it was time to record his next CD. After a short chat and a simple handshake with Mark Klak of Klakworks Studio in Buckingham, Illinois and a years worth of meticulous dedication, “Southside of Nowhere” was released on September, 18th, 2014.

Songwriting comes naturally to Jerry Lee and inspiration comes from deep within, which gave him his motivation for writing the collection of stories recorded on “Southside of Nowhere.” It is 59 minutes of outstanding songs loaded with deft vocals and expert musicianship. There are touches of clever and humorous lyrics, like “I must’ve been blind- as far as I can see” from the song, “Must of Been Blind.” “Whiskey Train” was taken from his early drinking years. “Something’s Wrong” was written about a dear friend who was addicted to a woman and drugs at the same time. “B&B by the Sea” was inspired by a trip to Northern Ireland and is a soulful song about love and longing. “Life Goes On” was written about what he witnessed on a daily basis from his wicker chair on his front porch. “Daddy’s Song”, which is dedicated to Jerry Lee’s father, was written the fateful day that Jerry was driving down the highway and received the call no one wants to answer. As Jerry pulled his car off the road, he did what he does best and channeled his grief by writing his true emotions right there on the spot.

Realizing that these songs/stories were so close and personal, he just knew he had to call upon some friends to help get the music to the finish line. Brandon Santini and his Seydel harmonicas was the first to offer his expertise. Then Timothy “Doc” Romanowski jumped in on keyboards, Cindy Altenberger on washboard, followed by Karen Brault and Susan Williams on background vocals. And last but not least- stellar performances by his friends, The Juju Kings.

While Jerry Lee is modest when he states that he is not the best bassist, guitarist, or vocalist on the planet, one has to witness his commanding stage presence and touch of “bad boy” charisma to get the whole picture of the artist. One thing for sure, he always brings a “blues collar” feel to his songs and incorporates great back alley rhythms coupled with a touch of uptown rock & roll that make his songs so approachable while moving you emotionally and physically. It’s the combination between the way Jerry Lee weaves his vocals and lyrics into a fabric of infectious grooves, while maintaining his Blues’ roots, that truly makes him a standout craftsman.
As Jerry puts it “A little rock in your socks…..a little blues in your shoes”.

Jerry Lee Gingery might think that he is from the Southside of Nowhere- wrong side of the tracks……… But I believe he is on the “Right Track to Somewhere”

Written by James “Skyy Dobro” Walker from “Friends of the Blues” radio show Jerry is excited to get his music and new CD into the hands of fans and blues lovers everywhere. His new CD “Southside of Nowhere can be ordered through CD Baby. If you would like a personally autographed copy, simply go to the MUSIC page.
Venue Information:
The Castle Theatre
209 E. Washington St.
Bloomington, IL, 61701