Samantha Fish, Death Wish Blues Review
Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton’s Death Wish Blues: A Modern-Day Blues Odyssey
Death Wish Blues, Samantha Fish’s collaborative project with Jesse Dayton, is a bluesy tour de force, a cyclone sweeping through the genres of rock, country, and traditional blues. Think of it as a blues album with a 21st-century makeover, fearlessly stepping into the world of experimentation and fusing these myriad influences with not just a sprinkle but a hearty dash of humor and attitude.
The musical chemistry between Fish and Dayton on Death Wish Blues is impossible to overlook. Their synchronization is akin to a rhythmic conversation between two old friends, each intuitively understanding and complementing the other’s sound. This kind of harmonious interplay reflects their shared passion for music, delivering a potent mix of soulful blues and energetic rock.
Key to the album’s unique sound is Jon Spencer’s production. Known for his work with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Spencer brings his distinctive, adventurous touch to Death Wish Blues. His guiding hand is evident in the album’s sonic landscape, the soundscapes’ raw textures providing a backdrop against which Fish and Dayton’s talents truly shine.
The album kicks off with “Deathwish.” As its name suggests, the song unflinchingly explores the shadowy corners of the blues. The lyrics are unapologetically raw, confronting listeners with a storm of emotion. Its passion and energy are like a reflection of our innermost thoughts and fears – thoughts often left unspoken but here given form in a heady blues concoction. This fearless approach to songwriting sets the tone for the rest of the album, painting a vivid, truthful picture of life’s highs and lows.
“Down in the Mud” takes us further into this journey. You can feel the mud under your feet as the groovy tune makes your feet stomp on their own accord. It’s almost as if you can sense the dirt between your toes, a gritty yet gratifying funky blues selection led by Dayton’s vocals. Fish and Dayton bring the heat with their six-string skills as the leads flow freely between them. The songwriting is outstanding, with a variety of sections and unique sound sculpting by Spencer.
Then we move on to “Riders,” a soulful anthem that beautifully captures the spirit of blues. Listening to it, you might find yourself wondering about the bigger picture, the journey of life, or even the essence of blues itself. Both Fish and Dayton have decisive vocal moments; the medium blues feel gives them ample room to express their guitar ideas. Again, notice Spencer’s use of textures on both the vocals and guitars to add variety and intrigue.
The emotional arc of the album changes with “Trauma.” Dayton sings the lion’s share of vocals, with Fish adding backing vocals and sensual background sounds. The song continues the powerful guitar performances that support the raw and emotional vocals. It’s a visceral reminder of how deeply trauma can scar us and yet also a witness to the fact that healing, while complex, is attainable.
“Rippin’ and Runnin'” offers an energetic boost. It’s a celebration of life in its most unadulterated form, with the ethos of living life on your own terms echoing through its catchy melody and driving beat. It’s about embracing your own journey and shaping your own reality.
The album reveals a new color with “No Apology” – a defiant pop-infused blues selection about being unapologetically oneself. Fish’s vocals have a slightly sweeter tone as she allures us with, “This is me, take it or leave it.” It’s about standing firm in your own identity, a reminder that we should not apologize for being our authentic selves.
“Supadupabad” is a fun moment, an exhilarating adventure of punk blues, a declaration of joy, freedom, and unfiltered self-expression. Despite the undefined word in the title, it encapsulates the spirit of the song, a verbal expression of pure enthusiasm and ecstasy. Fish’s voice and vocal sounds in the background add to the excitement. The production on the vocals has to again be acknowledged, Spencer continues to push the sound of blues, and with Dayton and Fish, his ideas really shine.
Ultimately, Death Wish Blues is an eclectic, soul-stirring album that channels raw emotion and energy into something that’s both introspective and liberating. It redefines the blues for the 21st century, embracing the darkness and beauty of life and music and reminding us of our own power to shape our reality. Whether you’re a fan of blues, rock, or country or simply a lover of great music, this album is a must-listen. That’s the short of it!
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Death Wish Blues
May 19, 2023