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Samantha Fish`s Big Summer Kick Off Party

Samantha Fish

Whether one leans towards the blues, opts for Americana or ignites some special fervor by playing with a garage band, there’s a common bond that suggests a reverence for the roots. Looking back towards an earlier template — no matter what the genre — proves the point that appreciating what came before can be a stepping stone for what comes next.

Samantha Fish knows that all too well, and it’s been evidenced in the music she’s made her entire career. While she’s well known as a purveyor of blues, having been lauded by such legends as Buddy Guy, the Royal Southern Brotherhood and Luther Dickinson, her real love is simply raw, scrappy rock and roll. “I grew up on it,” she insists. “Working with Luther on my last album further instilled that spirit in me. It made me realize just how much that basic, unfettered sound means to me, and how well it ties into soul music, R&B, country and so many other forms of music that are essential even today.”

It’s little wonder then that when it came time to record her new album, Chills & Fever (released March 17, 2017), Fish ventured off in another new direction, one she was exploring for the first time in her career. She traveled to Detroit and joined forces with members of the Detroit Cobras, a band whose insurgent ethic has made them darlings of the Midwest punk/blues scene. The two entities — which included Joe Mazzola on guitar, Steve Nawara on bass, and Kenny Tudrick along with Bob Mervak on keys, and the New Orleans horn section featuring Mark Levron and Travis Blotsky on trumpet and saxophone — bonded over a common love of classic soul and rollicking rhythms, so much so that the results testify to a seemingly timeless template. Covering songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s — indelible melodies from the pens of legends like Jackie DeShannon, Jerry Ragavoy, Bert Berns and Allen Toussaint — and revisiting some earlier demos she cut along with producer Bobby Harlow, Fish and the Cobras created an album that’s best described as a pure slab of rocking rhythm n’ blues.

“I listened to a lot of soul music, and I dug deep into people like Otis Redding and Ray Charles,” Fish recalls. “I was also influenced by people like R.L. Burnside and North Mississippi’s Junior Kimbrough. It’s a lot less restrained style of music than the sound people may be used to hearing from me, but it’s definitely a different facet of my personality. It’s far more straight forward.”

The fact is, Fish has never been bound by any expectations whatsoever. Growing up in Kansas City, she switched from drums to guitar at the tender age of 15. She spent much of her time in local watering holes listening to visiting blues bands. Samantha caught the attention of Ruf Records. The label subsequently released her album, Girls with Guitars, which found her co-billed with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. That led to her forming her own trio and recording three more albums, Runaway (2011), Black Wind Howlin’ (2013) and Wild Heart (2015), as reaping an awards for Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis. Along the way she found herself working with other artists as well — Jimmy Hall, Devon Allman, and Reese Wynans, among them.

Still, nothing she’s done before can prepare her faithful fans and followers to the seminal sounds of Chills & Fever.

I don’t think I ever enjoyed making a record quite as much as I enjoyed making this one,” Fish insists. “I love the sound of the brass and the edgier intensity. One thing’s for sure. Nothing ever felt so authentic.”

Dumpstaphunk

Southern Avenue

Moreland & Arbuckle

“Raw, dirty, primal and infectious…sizzling guitar, sturdy vocals and rude harmonica” –USA Today
“Deeply satisfying...gritty soul and blues with garage overtones and fire-and-brimstone vocals” –Living Blues Guitarist Aaron Moreland—co-founder of the groundbreaking Kansas-based trio Moreland & Arbuckle—describes their music as “gritty blues and roots rock from the heartland.” Moreland, harmonicist/vocalist Dustin Arbuckle and drummer Kendall Newby bring fierce electric fury and unrelenting punk rock energy to their original songs, inspired by raw Delta and Mississippi Hill Country blues. Their songs are expertly executed with musical muscle and fifth-gear urgency. When they perform more traditional blues, they play with the same decisive command. With each of their six previous releases, the band has grown musically and lyrically, creating a signature sound while earning a large and loyal worldwide fan base. Their legendary raw and raucous live shows are played with wild abandon. The New York Post says Moreland & Arbuckle have “a raw juke joint exuberance with a dirt-under-the fingernails garage band attack.” The group’s evolution continues with their Alligator Records debut Promised Land Or Bust, produced by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Botch, The Sword). From the howling cosmic opener Take Me With You (When You Go) to the stomping Mean And Evil to the plaintive Mount Comfort, Promised Land Or Bust is a far-reaching musical showcase. The instantly-memorable, slice-of-life songs paint scenes of double-crossed lovers, women meaner than the devil, and isolated loners beaten down by careless love. According to Moreland, “The new album is consciously traditional but still has the signature drive and power that we have crafted over the past thirteen years.” Moreland says signing with Alligator is a perfect fit. “One of our biggest influences ever, Hound Dog Taylor, was the very first Alligator artist. One of the reasons we have the non-traditional lineup of no bass player was inspired by listening to Hound Dog’s music as we were coming up.” According to Alligator president Bruce Iglauer, bringing Moreland & Arbuckle to the label known for its Genuine Houserockin’ Music was an easy choice. “I’ve watched this band grow from talented interpreters of raw, traditional blues into creators of fresh, original roots-based songs. Live, the energy just pours out of them.” Aaron Moreland was born December 16, 1974. He played in a number of garage bands while growing up and was influenced by punk music before having what he calls his “Son House moment.” Hearing the blues legend’s Death Letter Blues for the first time at age 22, he changed course, focusing his playing on nothing but acoustic blues for the next several years. Dustin Arbuckle was born December 25, 1981. He first discovered blues in his mid-teens and received what he refers to as “a calling. Getting into blues made me want to play music,” he says. He played in blues-rock bands, inspired by Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson, while learning to sing with deep soul and honest authority. The two met at an open mic session in their hometown of Wichita, Kansas back in 2001 and they quickly bonded over their mutual love of blues. Less than a year later, they joined forces, their raw and energetic approach to the music melding perfectly. Soon after coming together, Moreland and Arbuckle played both as an acoustic duo and as The King Snakes, a four piece electric band. Keeping a bass player proved difficult, and they soon found they made a better sound without one, as Moreland kept the rhythm thumping on his guitar while Arbuckle took the music into overdrive with his harmonica and vocals. The band quickly became local heroes, filling clubs beyond capacity. It wasn’t long before they started touring larger cities around the country, earning new fans with every performance. From their 2005 self-release Caney Valley Blues to 2013’s 7 Cities on Telarc, Moreland & Arbuckle have grown from a fiery, crowd-pleasing duo to a genre-smashing three-piece band. Together, Moreland’s simultaneous bass, rhythm and lead guitar work and Arbuckle’s emotionally-charged harmonica and edgy vocals—driven by Newby’s propulsive drumming—create a sound that is forceful enough to grab a listener’s attention and nuanced enough to hold it. American Songwriter says the group’s music is “swampy, sweaty and muggy...mixing a bluesy foundation with bits of country, folk and squawking American rock and roll.” WNYC’s Soundcheck says the band plays “gritty blues with a thoroughly contemporary bite.” Over the course of their career, Moreland & Arbuckle have played hundreds of shows and have logged hundreds of thousands of road miles (recently replacing their van after driving it over 400,000 miles), performing in the United States, Canada and across Europe. In 2008 they spent 10 days in Iraq, playing for the troops. They’ve shared stages with ZZ Top, George Thorogood, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and Los Lonely Boys. They’ll return to the road in support of the new album, with dates in the United States, Europe and beyond. No Depression says, “These guys have kegs full of talent. Their songs will keep you driving fast and long.” Now, with Promised Land Or Bust, Moreland & Arbuckle are ready to bust it all wide open. Arbuckle calls the new album “our best yet,“ and says, “we continue to evolve musically outside of the box we started in, but the bedrock—the blues —is always there.” Moreland adds, “We consciously went back to where we started and it took us to a brand new place.” That new place is clearly part of Moreland & Arbuckle’s never ending musical journey. And for them and their ever-growing fan base, there’s no turning back now.

and more TBA


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