What does it sound like?:
Who’d be a Blues Rock guitarist in the Twenty-First Century? Blues Rock, a genre that came into being over fifty years ago and reached its peak in the seventies. The electric guitar, an instrument that hasn’t exactly fallen into disrepute but is no longer the centrepiece of the modern world of music.
The answer is plenty of people and here are two of them. Danny Bryant is English and has been a professional guitar player for over twenty years. His skills impressed the likes of Buddy Guy and Carlos Santana enough for them to want to work with him. He’s made numerous albums and tours regularly, going down particularly well in America. He makes a decent living doing something he loves. Means Of Escape is ten tracks of classic seventies Blues Rock with loud, stomping riffs and some reflective acoustic songs. The key instrument is actually the Hammond organ. A sustained organ chord behind some stylish guitar ‘solo’ing is very effective at getting the pulse racing. The trouble is that Bryant is too much of a purist. Means Of Escape could be preserved in aspic from four decades ago as it sounds exactly like albums recorded in the seventies with no deviation from the Blues Rock template and the whiff of a wibble that would be more pronounced at a live gig. Unfortunately, Bryant’s voice is somewhat beige giving the impression that the songs are constructed primarily to showcase the guitar. As a result, it’s unlikely Means Of Escape will win any new fans.
Samantha Fish, however, is in a different kettle. She is ten years younger and is from Kansas. She is rarely photographed without a guitar, from a red Stogie cigar box to a white Gibson SG, and she always dresses her best, not to out-sexy the guitar but with respect for the instrument she loves. She is the genuine article not just a female novelty rock guitarist, a fluid, dynamic player who is also blessed with a sparky singing voice. She can slide, she can scuzz, she can soar. Kill Or Be Kind is her fifth album, produced in Memphis by a wise old head, Scott Billington. All eleven songs are originals but she has sensibly gathered together a range of quality co-writers to help her out, including Jim McCormick, Kate Pearlman, Patrick Sweeney, Parker Millsap and Eric McFadden. As a result, these songs are tight, neatly constructed and unashamedly commercial but still cover all of Blues Rock’s bases with riffs, Hammond organ, even some soulful horns. Fish’s playing serves the songs perfectly and her voice gives them life. Kill Or Be Kind is a sassy, assertive album, oozing with personality and capturing Samantha Fish on the cusp of a real breakthrough.
What does it all *mean*?
Blues Rock is still going strong in 2019.
Goes well with…
Signs of life. Everyone should experience Samantha Fish at least once.
20th September 2019
Might suit people who like…
The seventies for Bryant. This century for Fish.