The Kansas City, Kansas native Samantha Fisher has been belting and shredding the ax of the blues and rock and singing since she was fifteen at local venues and across the US. 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.
Her new album was released March 17, 2017 and currently on tour across the U.S.
Interview by Craig Newman
CN: Hi Samantha, thanks for your time on answering some questions. First, when I saw and heard you on YouTube I was and still just in awe. The new songs for the new album; Chills and Fever is a 50’s, 60’s and 70’s sounds of Motown and Blues. So the songs for this album are focused on the influences that many of us grew up listening to? The song “Chills and Fever” has that bumping sound from the 60’s and for feel that has people in smoke fill bar, restaurant or dinner theater for musical show (television shows or a scene in a movie from that era) that is easy play and to move or dance too
SF: Yes, in a roundabout way, the album is comprised of hits that weren’t technically hits. Some are familiar, but most were fairly obscure at the time. We felt like every song had a hook and great melody. This was an opportunity to take timeless, classic songs and redo them in our own way. In a way, I wanted to breathe life back into songs that needed to be heard again.
CN: So you went to Detroit to work with members of the Detroit Cobras (Midwest punk/blues scene) featuring 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 to get that inspiration and mood for this album? Were the songs recorded at Detroit?
SF: We recorded the album at the 45 Factory in Detroit. The city itself played a huge part in the sound. It’s where punk rock meets Motown. I feel like we definitely connected to that by bringing in members of the Cobras, and thru Bobby Harlow (producer). Bobby has been a long time producer from the Detroit area, he also fronted the band, The Go, that featured Jack White pre Stripes. We mixed in the New Orleans influence, and it gave the record such a strong identity, I feel like it was the right regions and genres to mix.
CN: Explain what the songs are about and from personal situations or references?
SF: These are mostly all love songs. It’s a heart and soul album at its core. I really connected with the lyrics, so it made singing them that much more meaningful. I put my heart fully into this record.
CN: You have new band members for this tour? Who are they?
SF: Kenny Tudrick – drums, Chris Alexander – bass, Mark Levron – Trumpet, Travis Blotsky – Sax, Phil Breen – Keys
CN: Why change from playing drums to guitar at young age and to sing? Who were your influences for guitar and singers?
SF: I felt less restricted on guitar. Secretly I always wanted to be a front person, but I was so shy. I wasn’t sure I could handle being out front. I finally picked up guitar around 15; I was really into rock n roll as a kid. Keith Richards was my guitar hero for a long time. Singers, I connected to Ray Charles and Otis Redding immediately. My sister was always listening to Aretha, so I heard a lot of powerful R&B, soul vocalists growing up.
CN: Who do you reference for “scrappy rock and roll”?
SF: The Stones, The stripes, I’d even throw some RL Burnside stuff into that category. Anything that played fast and loose, it’s really about the attitude.
CN: You do play a feisty version of “War Pigs” and will perform that for this tour? Or do have set song list that will change for the shows? Also “Sympathy For The Devil” I have to say a fresh sound and “Down In The Swamp” with Paul Nelson is good. Will you work with him again?
SF: We have a whole new show. That’s the exciting part about touring, writing, and recording. We are changing and growing everyday. Don’t expect it the same show from a few years about, but expect to have fun.
CN: Are there collaborations with other musicians including female guitarists for albums and shows you would like to perform with if offered?
SF: No female collaborations on this album, but my next record feature some amazing women. Be on the lookout for it!
CHILLS & FEVER Available Everywhere
Street Date 3/17/17 #ChillsAndFever