Samantha Fish: Belle of the West
After releasing Chills & Fever earlier this year, Samantha Fish didn’t waste any time before returning to the studio to record her fifth album, Belle of the West. While she’s known for basking in the blues, Belle of the West finds her expanding her palette to a degree, with “Blood in the Water” and the title tune injecting an Americana influence into her rootsy routine. Of course, there’s no mistaking the swampy sound of “Gone for Good” or the traditional trappings of “Poor Black Mattie” and “Nearing Home.” That’s all part of her signature style. Having garnered the Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut in 2012, she’s done quite well within that particular musical motif. However, like Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, she often takes liberties and bends the boundaries. Her songs are both scrappy and suggestive—the sassy “Gone for Good” and cynical “Don’t Say You Love Me” emphasize some edge and attitude. That’s another sign of confidence, and given the fact that she’s always commanding an impressive cast of musicians—in this case, Luther Dickinson, Amy LaVere and Jimbo Mathus among them—it’s quite obvious that she’s lacking neither inspiration nor support. It’s little wonder then that Belle of the West is her most diverse set yet, proving that, even while giving the blues its due, she’s eager to imbue other additives.