Samantha Fish has kicked down the door of the patriarchal blues club. In the process, the Kansas City musician has made her peers look comparatively dull and ineffectual.
Since the inception of the form, blues has been dominated by men. Fish’s remarkable vitality shows the historical bias is a musical misfortune. At just 28, Fish displays more imagination and creativity than some blues veterans exhibit over the courses of their careers.
Her stunning new album, “Chills & Fever,” exemplifies Fish’s eagerness to take risks. In a drastic change from the blues-rock style that made her an international star, the recording places Fish in a retro-soul setting. Punctuated by insinuating horns and bolstered by the stellar support of garage-rock heroes the Detroit Cobras, the album is one of the most singular releases by a blues-oriented artist in years.
“Chills & Fever” emphasizes Fish’s powerhouse vocals at the expense of her exceptional guitar work. While each of her previous albums possesses a distinct tone, all included the guitar pyrotechnics that cause fans to jump out of seats during Fish’s performances. She’ll indulge admirers of all aspects of her talent at the two-day event at Crossroads KC that’s billed as “Samantha Fish’s Big Summer Kick-Off.”
Southern Avenue, a soul-blues group from Memphis, and rugged Kansas City trio the Brody Buster Band join Fish on Friday. Saturday’s show includes New Orleans funk collective Dumpstaphunk and Wichita-based blues ensemble Moreland & Arbuckle.
Single-day tickets for Fish’s Saturday and Sunday concerts are $20-$66.50. Two-day passes are $31.50 in advance.
Concert previews by Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink