Photos & review by Kate Haley
The Love Letters Tour proved sweetly passionate as Samantha Fish brought her genre-defying blend of blues to The Independent in San Francisco on Sunday. Fish electrified the crowd with her characteristic large cannon of music and impressive range, delighting all in attendance.
Fish’s fretwork and guitar solos are delicately bullet-proof and take unconventional risks like a black widow spinning her web through unexpected symmetries. Throughout her diverse set list, Fish pivoted endlessly on her own brand of authenticity and remarkable skill.
I first heard of Samantha Fish when I caught her singing Screamin’ Jay Hawkin’s “I Put a Spell on You.” It was otherworldly, and a sharp departure from Nina Simone’s equally brilliant cover of it. Samantha stands on the shoulders of giants but always manages to interpret things in a totally new way. That’s how boundaries get pushed and doors opened.
At a mere 34 years old, Fish has the depth and nuance of the Blues greats, and one can’t help but wonder if she’s ushering in a new era of women pioneers in the Blues. This reviewer is confident Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey would have— undoubtably— approved. While the crowd was rather homogeneous I really look forward to seeing her dedicated fan base broaden. Fish is the hope for brighter, bluer days to come once this rich tradition bridges generations. Keep spreading the word, folks, and do check out Samatha Fish sitting in with Buddy Guy here if you still have your doubts.
“Don’t Say You Love Me” was the biggest jaw-dropper of the night. Fish sang it, deeply and completely, as if it was written in her bones. It’s a performance I’ll never forget. See the full set list from the show at https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/samantha-fish/2023/the-independent-san-francisco-ca-ba27db2.html . I’m pleased to report that we also saw a smoker of a “I Put a Spell on You” in our sweet little City too.
Fish has two more dates in California before joining Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival on 9/23-24. The Love Letters tour will close out with another ten ambitious dates before the Death Wish Blues tour commences with Jesse Dayton. And that’s only the half of it. See www.SamanthaFish.com for the multiple tour dates that she’s packing in for the final months of this year.