Music News & Reviews

KC blues artist Samantha Fish to perform in Wichita

Kansas City blues artist Samantha Fish says she pours her heart out on her guitar strings.

Her songs, which range from those about relationship troubles to family stories, come from her life experiences growing up in Kansas City.

“I try to stick to what I know,” Fish, 23, said. “That’s when I feel I’m being most honest.”

Her album, “Runaway,” features a variety of styles, from blues rock to lounge jazz. She said the sounds that surrounded her growing up heavily influence her songwriting.

“I just fell into the genre,” Fish said. “It comes out when I write.”

Fish recently won the 2012 Blues Music Association’s Best New Artist Debut award in Memphis. She said the experience alone was humbling — sitting in the same room with established blues artists.

“It was completely overstimulating in and of itself,” Fish said. “I really wasn’t expecting to win. I went in with an open mind.”

Fish has been playing blues for five years, gaining experience by touring across the country and Europe.

This is not Fish’s first time in Wichita. She played a solo show in January 2011, where she met up with Justin Murray, who at the time was teaching guitar at Damm Music Center.

Fish and Murray became fast friends and before long, she, her father, Bill, and mentor/pseudo-manager Don Bean had persuaded him to move to Kansas City to start his own blues band.

The Justin Andrew Murray Band — otherwise known as the JAM Band — will open for Fish at her show Friday.

“He’s been killing it,” Fish said. “Now he’s got a chance to come back to his hometown and just knock them out.”

Murray’s band recently entered the Kansas City International Blues Challenge and won its preliminary round. If the band wins its final round Sept. 8, it moves on to Memphis to compete in the international contest.

“I believe wholeheartedly in this band,” Murray said. “We just want to go as far as we can.”

And Fish said she thinks that will be pretty far.

“He’s an original,” Fish said. “He’s got great songs. He’s a slayer.”

The two have played more than 50 shows together since, and Murray said he looks forward to many more.

“It’s been awesome having her as a friend and musical companion, that’s for sure,” Murray said. “The odds are always against you, but if you have the right people around you, it makes it all worth it.”