Review: Setting sail in NYC with Samantha Fish
Setting sail in NYC with Samantha Fish on Harbor Lights Cruise
You’ve probably never heard of Samantha Fish before unless you are a fan of the Blues. That’s going to change. As an artist on a meteoric rise, it’s just a matter of time before she’s a household name. She’s that good.
A winner of the 2018 Best Female Contemporary Blues Artist; two new albums with completely different styles released in the same year, with both going to #1 in the charts; 200+ live shows played per year all over the country; Hailed as one of the hardest working artists in the music scene. Samantha Fish is the real deal, both on stage and off. Best of all, she is loving every single minute of this magical ride.
Samantha Fish started playing guitar at age 17 and released her first record “Live Bait” in 2009 when she was 20. Her first studio album Runaway truly introduced Samantha to the world in 2011, and as a result she won the Blues Music Award for Best New Artist. In 2015 Samantha released Wild Heart, her first record to top the Blues charts. This album, which is still in heavy rotation on my playlist, contains many of my favorite songs including “Go Home”, “Turn It Up”, and “Blame it on the Moon”. Then in 2017, she released two studio albums in the same year…a rarity these days. Chills and Fever is a collection of rock, jazz, soul, and pop covers that are reimagined into a fresh spin with horns and strings added into the mix. “Belle of the West” goes in a completely different direction with original songs that are bluesy, with a sprinkle of country mixed in. This album showcases Samantha’s vocal prowess and turns down the guitar a bit. Both albums are still high up on the album charts.
With the iconic NYC skyline as a backdrop on a beautiful summer night, Samantha Fish treated hundreds of fans aboard the Harbor Lights Cruise to a spectacular array of Rock, Blues, R&B, and Soul music.
The music harmonized well the dizzying lights of the city to the delight of the crowd. Having seen her and the band live over a dozen times in the last year, I can honestly say that her show gets better single time. Surrounded by her 6-piece band including Phi Breen (keyboard), Rebecca Crenshaw (violin), Christopher Spies (sax), Alex Massa (trumpet), Scott Graves (drums), and long-time bass player Christopher Alexander, the musicianship and camaraderie between the band members shines on every song.
Most of the songs played during her 90-minute set were from her last two albums, with the exception of two from the Wild Heart album and a Rolling Stones cover thrown in for good measure. The night started with “American Dream”, fittingly, as the NYC skyline appeared through the windows. Samantha and the band roared through song after song from the last two albums on a mission from god.
Each intense in their own way yet the band was smiling and animated throughout the show. The lighting for the first two songs kept the band pretty much in the dark to the packed crowd, but luckily additional lights were added. The rest of the evening everyone could not only hear but see the passion and emotion put forth on every song. The boat was literally rocking musically and in the river. The 3-hour cruise went by in a blink of an eye.
Highlights of the show for me were an incredibly beautiful acoustic “Going Home”, a spine-tingling “Chills and Fever”, a jazzy smooth “Hello Stranger” with some great horns and keys, a smoky and slow “Either Way I Lose”, and a rollicking jam out on “You Can’t Go”. Every song is unique and really nothing sounds the same…a little bit of something for everyone! The show was pumped through the speakers throughout the ships three decks. No matter where you were, you could enjoy the performance. The night ended with Samantha jamming on her signature custom Cigar Box guitar to “Crow Jane”, which is always a tasty treat.
A lot of artists, at this level and point in their career, would charge a premium price to have a meet and greet. Not Samantha Fish though. After every show, she comes out to meet all the fans in line. There is no time limit to each encounter. She will sign merch and pose for photos till the cows come home. I don’t know where she gets her energy and stamina. Samantha does it enthusiastically, with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. Tonight’s show was no different, other than being on a boat instead of dry land. The line wrapped around the boat and people patiently but excitedly waited for their turn to meet this soon-to-be superstar.
You can catch Samantha live in a city near you and I’m not going to recommend it, you just need to go…period. I don’t usually tell people what to do but she is that amazing. Her high energy, love of the music, and adoration of her audience will instantly turn you into a fan. Once you’re a fan, you can then call yourself a “Fish Head” like myself and the other 62,931 people on her official fan page.
Fishheads, like Deadheads, or Parrotheads, are dedicated fans that that will travel hours or days to catch a show, buy whatever merch she has, and just love the band. Shows sell out quickly so get your tickets now for a future show. You won’t be disappointed…trust me! Peace, love, and music for all!
Set #1: American Dream, Chills and Fever, Never Going To Cry, You Can’t Go, Blood On The Water,Little Baby, You’ll Never Change, Need You More, Cowtown, Highway’s Holding Me Now, Daughters, Heartbreaker (Rolling Stones Cover)
Set #2: Hello Stranger, He Did It, Don’t Say You Love Me, Go Home, Belle of the West, Gone For Good, Somebody’s Always Trying, Nearer to You
Encore: Crow Jane