Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton – Death Wish Blues
Nothing new in this 39-minute blues torrent but the music is played with lots of attitude, rawness, & competency. It’s striking. Fervent, entertaining music opens on the title track “Deathwish,” but then it downshifts into funk unflinchingly with “Down in the Mud.” What’s interesting – it’ll make an older rock fan think of Sly & the Family Stone with Larry Graham. It has all the attractive blends & bends & it spends time spilling lots of different sounds throughout any willing ear.
The band lays down a genuine groove even on its 3rd cut “Riders,” & then tosses the dice on shlocky effects but with voices like Kansas City’s Samantha Fish (vocals/guitar/cigar box guitar/junk yard percussion) & Jesse Dayton (vocals/lead guitar/baritone guitar/tambourine) what’s generated swells, smokes & sparks. This is a cool little tune.
It has suggestive asides, creeps along like a predator, lots of gusto & spirit. Dance floors will like this. It does have a streak of retro-ness in its arrangement but there’s something rich in how it coexists with the modern approach. I like it.
Produced by musician Jon Spencer. There’s lots to like here on these 12 cuts, especially if you come from the generation that embraced the new blues breed of the Woodstock Generation: the Canned Heat aficionados, the Ten Wheel Drive blues gears, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band embers, the Savoy Brown Blues Band 100 proof shots & John Mayall’s bluesy endeavors. It’s all here on Death Wish Blues (Drops May 19–Rounder Records).
What’s interesting — the grittiness & aggressiveness of Samantha & the genuine soulfulness of Dayton’s voice & his roller-coaster assertive guitar. Oh, I could sit here & ramble off tons of adjectives to describe the music & performance, but I’ll leave that to the rock journalists & just say this is a satisfying set as someone who admires good musicians & singers who understand what they’re doing rather than posturing. There’s feeling when feeling is needed, there’s tossing trash cans in an alley when the energy level requires it.
On the slower tunes, Sam delivers also. The musicians add many touches to embellish the tune without being cute. Recorded in Woodstock, NY. there isn’t a tune on this set that’s anemic.
Even when the duo sings in tandem (“Flooded Love”) it has power & conviction. The Duane Eddy-type guitar has a stalking instinct. With “Lover On the Side,” nearly touches the charm of duets like Johnny & June Cash as well as Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood. Excellent.
Highlights – “Deathwish,” “Down in the Mud,” “Riders,” “No Apology,” “Flooded Love,” “Lover On the Side” & “Rippin’ & Runnin’”
Musicians – Kendall Wind (bass), Mickey Finn (keys) & Aaron Johnston (drums).
Color image courtesy of Horizon South Media. CD @ https://shop.fingerprintsmusic.com/UPC/888072485723
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Interview: Samantha Fish on New Album, New Orleans and Meet and Greets
and here: Book Review: Beaumonster by Jesse Dayton