Kansas City rocker with blues roots to play Cotillion on Saturday

12/26/2013 12:00 AM

12/24/2013 6:26 PM

While coming of age in Kansas City, Samantha Fish passed on nu metal and post-grunge acts. She became enamored of classic rockers, such as the Rolling Stones, and old blues artists.

“I grew up listening to the Stones and Led Zeppelin, and they were rooted in the blues,” Fish said. “So I explored the blues and I found the Delta blues sound, which I love. I love artists like RL Burnside. I love Son House and Skip James. I did my homework going back from rock to blues but I have to stress that I love rock and the blues.”

Fish, 24, isn’t a traditional blues artist. She’s a strong vocalist and a gifted guitarist who churns out gritty rock.

“I owe a lot to my dad,” Fish said. “He threw a lot of great music at me since I was a kid. I got really into these great songwriters, like Tom Petty, John Hiatt and Tom Waits. Some people say Tom Waits can’t sing but he’s an incredible songwriter. His stories are amazing.”

Fish is an inveterate storyteller as well. Her songs are vivid and compelling with thick guitar lines and catchy riffs.

“I think lyrics are so important but they’ve gotten lost in the shuffle these days,” Fish said. “Words can really move you. But some people just focus on being incredible at guitar or they just want to be the greatest vocalist. Look at Miley Cyrus and Katie Perry. They’re talented but they have nothing to say. They don’t sing about real things. It’s really vapid. Back a generation or two ago, they (sang) about things that really matter.”

Fish belts out songs from her heart throughout “Black Wind Howlin’,” which also features Mike Zito of the Royal Southern Brotherhood. Zito produced the album and plays guitar and adds backing vocals.

Zito was joined by RSB bandmates Yonrico Scott on drums and Charlie Wooten on bass. Fish has crafted literate but visceral songs. “I had a blast working with them,” Fish said. “It was beyond what I hoped.”

Expect a heavy dose of “Black Wind Howlin’” and some cuts from her two prior studio albums, 2011’s “Girls With Guitars” and “Runaway,” when Fish returns to Wichita on Saturday at the Cotillion.

“I love going out to Wichita,” Fish said. “The turnout is always great and the audience is always so enthusiastic. It’s always a great experience.”

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