The Murphysboro Art, Wine, and Blues Festival is coming Saturday, September 9, featuring many musicians, vendors, and artists. One of the featured performers of the night is blues artist, Samantha Fish. The band joining Samantha (guitar/vocals) is composed of, Kenny Tudrick (drums), Chris Alexander (bass), Phil Breen (Keyboard), Travis Blotsky (saxophone), and Mark Levron (Trumpet).
The festival gets kicked off at noon at Riverside Park in Murphysboro.
The Times had the pleasure of talking with Samantha about her success and her path to the spotlight. Samantha Fish is a singer/guitarist originally from Kansas City, Missouri. Inspired by her dad’s talent, she took music in at a young age.
“I started playing guitar when I was 15,” Fish said. “My dad and his friends all played. When I picked up the guitar, it was a natural thing to do. I never would have thought I’d been a front person because I was so shy. Music gave me a means and outlet to communicate and come out of my shell.”
She said there were many artists who inspired her tone.
“When I started getting into blues music, I loved the soul singers. I was really into Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. I never could their vocal stylings, I was just a little kid, ya know? When it was blues it was R.L. Burnside or Junior Kimbrough,” Fish said. “The Fat Possum (Record Label) sound really bridged the gap between the raw punk stuff and blues music. That really spoke to me.”
Samantha soon started playing at local jams in Kansas City, which grew into forming new bands, and eventually going on tours. She still appreciates the local Kansas City musicians, mentors, and bands that let her sit in and play at shows at the age of 17. Samantha said she gives credit to her peers and friends that have helped her up from the start as well as her management, label, and booking agents that back her up now.
With the growth of her success grew a large following of fans. One of which is blues legend Buddy Guy. Samantha said,
“He’s a living legend in the blues world. Whenever I got the opportunity to sit in with him, I was scared,” she said. “Playing in front of Buddy Guy and seeing him smile is pretty amazing. He’s seen everything. He’s done everything. Being able to pull a smile from him is a feat.”
Samantha Fish has been on tour promoting their newest record Chills and Fever. She said being on tour has allowed her to meet many new people.
“I met a guy named Bobby Harlow. He’s produced a lot of cool Detroit artists and punk rock bands. We decide we wanted to do a covers album. None of these songs are original. They are kind of obscure classics. They were never really hits, but hey sound like hits. We wanted to give a second chance to songs people might not have heard,” she said.
Members of the Detroit Cobras and Samantha’s horn section recorded the record in Detroit to tie in the regions sound and inspiration.
“There’s a fine line with between respecting the original, making it your own, to pay tribute to the artist that did it without losing too much of yourself,” Fish said. “It was an interesting balance, finding a way to remake these songs.”
In November, Samantha has another record coming out Belle of the West, which will feature original music and a continuation of their tour.
For the festival itself, Executive Director of Murphysboro Chamber of Commerce Steve Webb said preparation for the event starts in April.
“We’ll meet a couple times a month starting then, and about eight weeks before the event, we start meeting every week,” he said.
The Chamber is expecting around six wineries, 10 performers, and around 18 craftspeople, featuring food from Southern Que and One Hot Cookie.
“We typically have 3-4 local talents, and then bring someone in from out of the area,” he said. “This year we were lucky enough to get Samantha Fish.”
The performers this year are, Tawl Paul, The Phonics, Ivas John, Lew Jetton, and then Fish headlines the event.
“The weather is looking great so far in the extended forecast and we’ve had around 700 people in the past,” he said. “We’re hoping and crossing our fingers with the social media, expecting quite a few more people than that.”