Friday Night Music: Samantha Fish

A more or less unbelievable performance

Comments: 79

  1. From a fellow ageing baby boomer...agree that here is so much talent and good music out there it's hard to keep up. I keep trying and appreciate the tip.

  2. Thanks for the posting , as one of similar ( six months younger) vintage, I agree with the amount of great music out there , usually in smaller venues where one can hear the performer. Any city I am in , i find there are smaller clubs with excellent musicians. No arena rock for me when these kind are around. I hope Ms.Fish continues a successful performing career.

  3. I don't know how anyone can say that good music ended in the 1970s; the first Ramones album wasn't released until 1976! (Aging Gen-Xer).

  4. Yes! And boy do I wish I was sedated these days.

  5. LOL! Srsly.

  6. As someone who hosts a weekly radio show that focuses on independent music I have to tell you that I can’t keep up with all of the fantastic music that’s being created these days. It’s definitely an exciting time for music but it’s not necessarily a great time to be a musician as it’s even harder to make a buck than it used to be. The Rodent Hour on Radio Free Brooklyn

  7. the singer certainly does a first rate Janis Joplin imitation,though she howls a bit too much for my taste. I guess each person's musical taste is their own business, so I will stick to Mozart et al... with some Beatles and Fleetwood Mac thrown into the mix.and I will pay rapt attention to Mr. Krugman when he writes about economics as long as it is not too wonkish.

  8. New is great but sometimes the original is extra special too.

  9. I admire Krugman so I thought I'd give it a shot. I couldn't even get past the intro: noxious noise.

  10. try Nina Simone's version

  11. First Lucius and now Samantha Fish too? We have the same tastes, my friend. We saw Samantha in Phoenix in August, I think.

  12. Good stuff out there Professor and I am way over 70! Thanks for the tip.

  13. That rocked pretty hard. Mental note filed to dive into her oeuvre.

  14. Please make on your calendar for a year from now, to let us know if today's column was the result of a crush or a senior moment.

  15. Paul, Yes Samantha Fist is very talented. I've been watching her for some time now. Look for her videos playing slide on her oil can guitar.

  16. Samantha Fish is Ok but you must listen to : "I Put a Spell on You" is a 1956 song written by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, whose recording was selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It ... Released: November 1956 Nothing like old time rock and roll.

  17. Way, way better. Thanks!

  18. I agree. My first time hearing Samantha Fish. I am a generation older than you but appreciate great blues music. It sooths my soul. B.B. King is my all time favorite but I have dozens of blues artists that are on my favorite list. Good point on the rise in live entertainment. Good things are happening.

  19. I have known Samantha for several years. When she was first starting out as a singer/guitar player in Kansas City, MO, my son Walker and another blues singer Danielle Nicole backed her up on a few gigs to get her started. My son taught her some of the finer points of blues guitar. The video here really does not show off her talents as well seeing her live or listening to her recordings. She plays great guitar but she is also a very good drummer. A boomer myself, I really love seeing young women out there giving it their all on the guitar as well as singing and getting the respect they are due. Thanks for noticing, Paul.

  20. You were right the first time: good music ended in the 70s. Once Seeger finished Night Moves and Springsteen cut Darkness on the Edge of Town - done! Why are people still trying? (Same goes for fashion: once my proctor at prep school said "Bring two pairs of khakis, six button-down and three polo shirts, and a pair of bucks - no need to update the wardrobe has ever really arisen).

  21. How does Fish's cover of a 1955/56 Jay Hawkins rock-and-roll song made famous in 1968 by Credence Clearwater Revival provide evidence that all the great music in the world didn't appear by the late 70s? ...or that another aging baby boomer has discovered "the blues" [sic]?

  22. I am big on blues and Samantha Fish, but for my favorite renditions of this particular song, I prefer Joss Stone and especially Mike Bass' arrangement for Katie Melua. Those are also on YouTube.

  23. If Mr. Krugman liked this artist then he most certainly would also appreciate Debbie Davies, Ana Popovic, Erja Lyytinen, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Lou Ann Barton.

  24. Smoldering is Correct. A little more Wine, and the Husband might get really lucky. Just saying.

  25. Scandalous, Phyliss.....downright scandalous.

  26. From the hugely missed Civil Wars to Lonesome Bellow to, yes, Samantha Fish, your Friday Night Music recommendations have been the only way I -- a fellow aging baby boomer -- keep up with music. Everything I know about hep & happening music and the Chicago School, I've learned here. Much appreciated!

  27. Odd: I discovered Samantha on YouTube yesterday. I like her version here, but John Fogerty's is the bomb. And, yeah, when Led Zeppelin quit, it was over for me. But what a windfall of great music we had: from the Animals to ZZ Top.

  28. Same as amazon kindle unlimited provides a platform for less known and new authors sites like jamendo provide a means of distribution for indy music of all sorts - its the thing the web is good at..

  29. I'm 65. My friends and I all loved Cream in the 60s (still do) as a great rock band, but it wasn't until many years later that I realized what a great blues band they were as well. I knew what blues was, but equating Cream with blues just wasn't on my radar. Go figure.

  30. I have always played the guitar and took lessons when I was younger 1975. I told my instructor I wanted to learn blues. He asked me who I admired; I said Alvin Lee, Jimmy Page, etc. He told me those were the "copycats" and then taught me some Albert King licks......

  31. A little John Lee Hooker, too?

  32. The 70s were indeed amazing but the last decade of great music was the 90s.

  33. ...but let’s not forget that Fogerty really brought the tune mainstream as a cover of Screamin Jay’s original. His voice made the song come to life.

  34. Samantha Fish is an making artist. And she is a very wonderful person. I have all of her records. Full disclosure: I used to work with her label.

  35. "I’m an aging baby boomer, raised to believe that good music ended sometime in the 1970s." Full Stop. The explosion of exceptional music starting with the Beatles and the British Blues Bands in the sixties was a direct result of the confluence of American Black Blues, Folk, Country and Jazz music combined with the unique British tradition of stage performance. The feedback of those influences to the USA resulted in a Golden Age of a wide range of extremely high quality music and performance. For the most part by the mid-seventies those influences had been watered down and the recipe lost. Then the posers took over, the pursuit of celebrity without real talent. The end result is dross like American Idol and the soulless pap that presents itself as "quality" music today. In the words of the great John Lee Hooker: "…your life will never be the same…you're still living in the days done past and gone….and memories…you can't live on that way, in the past…them days are past and gone." - It Serves Me Right To Suffer

  36. This old baby boomer has a memory glitch but would like to add 'Chuck Berry' to the list.

  37. Chuck Berry, the Father of Rock and Roll, was far more than likely, the most critical catalyst for the era.

  38. I'm old enough to remember my mother saying "This Rock and Roll is just a fad like Bobby socks and the hula hoop. It'll go away." Hope I get to be a teenager before that happens, I thought. The last movement I more-or-less kept up with was the Seattle bands of the early nineties. Disco killed much of the live band market and Rap/Hip Hop has come close to being the coup de grace for rock and blues. There are quality artists left in those genres, but not much room for widespread success.

  39. Her album Chills and Fever is amazing.

  40. I'm glad to see Samantha Fish getting praise in the New York Times. I've had the pleasure of reviewing her last several albums and covering a string of her live performances. Thanks to a wonderful publicist, I even had the chance to interview Ms. Fish when her landmark album Chills and Fever was released last year. The performance Mr. Krugman posted is four years old. Since then, Ms. Fish has expanded her band and added an exceptionally tight horn section from New Orleans. Her music is a vibrant mix of blues, soul, rock and even a little country twang. The era of dynamic live performers with a firm grounding in American roots music is far from over. Aging Baby Boomers and younger music lovers should get to know Ms. Fish and a generation of rising stars who are giving American music a shot in the arm.

  41. Nice performance by Fish, Paul, but not really to be compared with the Annie Lennox rendition, most notably the one that blew away the Grammys a couple of years ago. I’m admit to bias, because a) she’s an old person, like me, and b) she and I are compatriots.

  42. Of course you like that. It sounds like it came right out of the 70s.

  43. 1956

  44. As a 60 year old, I just saw Lorde last week at Barclays center. She was astounding and guess what unlike the 70's she wasn't wasted. So much good music with such availability why get stuck in the past.

  45. Thanks for posting this. We discovered Sami last year and ended up going to three of her concerts. She always puts on a fantastic show, she such a professional. But she’s also very kind and generous to her fans. Her talent is A , as is her kindness.

  46. Paul, Delighted you are finding these folks. My gifts to you - for all you have given to me. All young, all players, all under 40. Julian Lage - best guitar player under 60 period (Jazz, Americana, sorta Bluegrass, new jazz - with Nels Cline); Jason Isbell - the poet laureate of American Roots music; and Derek Trucks (best electric slide player after Ry Cooder). Now these folks are all well known and have Grammy nominations and wins, but never on the actual program, so if you fellow Boomers think music died with Jimmy Janice this the cream on the top. I could go on there is a new generation of totally gifted instrument based artists . . . I rediscovered music about 10 years ago and it now provides joy and therapy in a world that demands it.

  47. For those looking to catch up on newer music Elmore Magazine, No Depression (full disclosure - I write for both) , American Songwriter and the Americana Music Association website are all great places to start.

  48. Last time I heard this, Screamin' Jay Hawkins was the artist. Yeah, like Paul I'm older than dirt, too.

  49. As an expat in Denmark (going on 30 years), I find that it is often musicians that are America's best ambassadors, bringing people and the world together instead of forcing them apart with vapid political agendas. A friend and I were to a live concert with Samantha Fish last november here in DK (we're both boomers @ 60). Met another American (Harry @ 70) who was following Samantha Fish around on her European tour. Not a bad way to learn about other countries, I may add... My friend and I agreed, this is not such a bad way to spend extra time when it's time to hang up the professional career activites.... We sure would be pleased to include you, Dr. Krugmann in our plans... A Nobel Laureate would put a polish on our group, and make for even livelier conversations while enjoying great music... Thanks for sharing your musical interest!

  50. Perhaps, like the economy and politics, music will swing (like a pendulum do.) White folk discovered the blues, musicians refined their technique to the Eric Clapton level. That led to a backlash with garage rockers proud of the fact they knew 3 chords. These days, there is something for everyone, just not on the radio. Performances aside, who writes songs like I Put A Spell On You anymore?

  51. So, Samantha Fish writes her own songs on top of doing covers. She has two that get airplay on Sirius XM these days, both good songs. She can play like Jimi Hendrix when she wants to. Jimi did cover songs also. Samantha Fish is a long way ahead of most of the blues artists out there now, on a par with Johnny Winter (who's not with us any more) and sometimes Stevie Ray Vaughan.

  52. For some reason, I feel this would go well with a glass of Southern Comfort and rocks, and unfortunately two dull limp herbal tea-bags in a mug is not the right blend to put a spin, let alone a spell on anyone. Great clarity of voice from a shining Fish, and to get to the clef, a subjective preference for Lady GaGa.

  53. Make mine a Jack Black . . . :-)

  54. I don't see anything in that recording that does the track better than Fogerty or Screamin' Jay. It's not bad, it just doesn't blow me away. But I'm not really a big blues fan. The idea that great music is confined to any particular decade or ended at any point in the past is evidence of a closed mind and nothing more. Usually these people just cite music from the decade that they were in their 20s. They are dead wrong. South Park parodied this very cleverly last season when the kids were listening to Pandora and asked for "banging 80s tunes" and got schlock like "Super Bowl Shuffle" back. We remember the highs from 60s or 80s music, but there was awful stuff galore back then too. So, I'm 50 now and was a music fiend beyond most in my late teens and early 20s. I got back into live music discovery a few years ago, and I agree, there's just too much to keep track of. You can't go wrong with bands like Wand, Alvvays, The Regrettes, Omni, Palm, Tacocat, Ultimate Painting, Clearance, or Public Service Broadcasting. You might not like all these bands, as they are not at all similar rock bands, but all are quality stuff, and some, like Palm and PSB, are really doing something not done before. I could triple the size of this list without diminishing its quality. There's also GoGo Penguin, a great Jazz group I that I got into in a major way last year, and I'm not big on jazz either, but wow. This is no less a golden age for music than your favorite decade in the past.

  55. Thanks for this... if only Dr. Krugman could keep his yelling down during the performance we might be able to enjoy it more!

  56. Fantastic!

  57. Excellent! Thank you Professor!

  58. Ditto! A fine music web has been created, and it brought back fond memories of my late husband playing 'It's Lonely at The Top' by Randy Newman in The Village many years ago causing us all to smile in those were the days.

  59. ;-) Luuuv Randy Newman . . .

  60. I'm an aging Gen X-er who thinks that the entirety of rock music died by the late 1990s, around the time that Napster came out. My preferential era for "good" rock music is the punk and alternative era, which saw its peak from the early 80s to the early 90s. Despite my anti-FM AOR, anti-classic rock radio taste,I think that many aging Boomers and X-ers share a couple of unique connections: 1) We actually believed in the Romantic (secular humanist utopian) power of rock music to challenge political and corporate authority in way that would result in positive societal change 2) We viewed our artists through guise of the now-dead art form of the LP album 3) We did not see a future United States as ethnically diverse and economically unstable as the one we are currently living in. Even the cynical anti-American-exceptionalist "punk me" did not see a future where I would be a minority in my community--a community that now has so many disparate interpretations of what "America" means that no one can agree an anything, because our cultural and ideological visions are so incomprehensible to one another. I believe that many Boomers and Xers share (and what the American left and right share) is a naive assumption that everyone wants to be like us, in our vision of the future United States--be it some tolerant socialist utopia, or, on the right, some WASP version of a "Christian nation." Our Romantic notions of "tolerance" and "social change" are just as bound up cultural.

  61. I tried listening. Not my cup of tea. The "music" jarred to the point of pain.

  62. Ok, I get that. But you tried it. I tried listening to Bob Marley, love the messages and the lyrics, could not stand the music. Maybe I will try again in another ten years and see how my tastes have changed, you know?

  63. Paul, thank you for this. I've been saying for a while now that the best gift an adult can give another adult is a gift of art - even if it amounts to little more than a nod in a certain, previously unexplored direction. That's more than enough. And I'm agreeing with those who say that good music stopped somewhere in the 90's, and especially in the early 2000's with the advent of American Idol and all the 'look at me' bellowing that came out of it. Samantha on the other hand doesn't bellow OR smolder here - she BLAZES with an energy I've rarely seen from any performer. Nice guitar work too.

  64. Thank you, thank you, thank you! That is some of the best music I've heard in a long time . . . I am a blues aficionado, primarily because there are so many flavors and because the genre provides a vehicle for the performer to "let the music play them" as opposed to the player "playing music." This is a fantastic example . . . Awesome, awesome music. Thanks again!

  65. Wonderful guitar. Many, many thanks. It made me think again in the music of Carlos Santana. For example “Soul sacrifice” in Woodstock. My grandson and grandaughters now can enjoy the sound of an electric guitar played by a young and talented artist.

  66. I have gradually discovered this "Live Music" phenomenon over the past 15 or so years, primarily though going to live music festivals - the New Orleans Jazz Fest being the Grandaddy of them all. Paul, I would gladly welcome you to any of the dozens of multi-day music festivals that have proliferated in the past decade. These festivals are an oasis of artist discovery and musical nirvana. Clearly, broadcast radio has become a stale format rebroadcasting the same music or the same music repackaged, while live venues and the internet are where all the creativity resides.

  67. Saw this young lady at Infinity Hall in Norfolk CT. Put on an incredible set. Cigar box guitars and all.

  68. You can check her out doing "Shake em on Down" on a cigar box guitar on You Tube.

  69. she is a great performer, and yes there is still great new music out there. If you get the chance check out Beth Hart.

  70. Nina Simone's version is up there with the best imho. It's also on YouTube. Thanks for the column and a welcome intro to Fish. A thanks also to the NYTimes community for bringing other worthy versions of the song to my attention. You have enhanced my evening for sure!

  71. She ain't Nina! As an aging baby boomers, I remember Nina.

  72. Paul, we’re around the same age, but while you were studying economics I was playing keyboards in obscure but hard-working rock and blues bands. Like you I have a preference for the music of my youth, not because it was better, but because like the scent of home-baked bread it evokes at a primordial level the intensity of my emotions back then, and how the music of the day gave them expression. Interesting you choose to exemplify today’s talent a young woman who sings and plays exactly as if she were from 1969. Amy Winehouse would have been a more convincing proof we’re in a renaissance because she was an original and will still be listened to in 30 years, as Janis Joplin is now. Like jazz, rock has taken many forms. You and I lack the emotional connection to forms like punk, grunge, and rap, and so we fail to see their attraction. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there. One more thing. It isn’t forced touring that’s behind the wave of new talent, it’s the internet, especially YouTube. A garage band in rural Australia now has the wherewithal to record itself and publish to a worldwide audience, bypassing the corrupt and predatory “music industry”. Young people will discern their favorites and, through the social media, fame will often come quickly to the best of the best. I say “often” because serendipity will always play a role in success. Still, never has there been a better time to be young and a lover of music, whether as a player or a listener. On that I think we can agree.

  73. dear Professor, you castigate Mr Trump for his hypocrisy when he claims kinship with working class stiffs and're cheerleading for a blonde purveyor of ersatz black music catering to a wannabe middle-class audience!

  74. Music: the universal language anyone can understand, from Nobel prize winner to a random person like me.

  75. Not bad. But there are so many better singers and players out there doing the blues. Female and males. Krugman is right about one thing,there is a lot of good, sometimes fantastic music being made today...but its not pop, and right now Pop is all the Bizness cares about. Its what they're making money on. Metal, which is a vast and diverse genre is producing some really skilled artists who are experimenting and breaking new ground - is overlooked in whole. Same with good old standard Rock-n-Roll, much of it fronted by females. But if you ain't shak'n your butt, and singing thru auto-tune, the Industry ignores them. I often get lost down rabbit-holes on Youtube, or Spotify just following "like" music. And a lot of its awesome,but much more is sub-par. Right now, looking at the last two weeks of music examples from Mr.Krugman, I'd suggest he look up an artist from down Texas way...Nina Diaz (of Girl in a Coma) solo album. She owns her art. A fierce performer, with an incredible voice. She's the real deal. Also dive into the Prog Rock scene...lots of good stuff gong on there as well. Oceans of Slumber, Karnivool...

  76. Just trying to revive Janice...

  77. You mean Janis, perhaps?

  78. Or Janice from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem?

  79. Good choice, Mr. Krugman.