Club Red: Samantha Fish, 2/9/2020!

Named by Skiing Magazine as one of ski country’s best concert venues, Club Red brings a wide variety of crowd-pleasing entertainers to Telluride and Mountain Village. Given the fact the Telluride region has long been a hotbed for national touring acts, Club Red adds another chapter to that rich history. The intimate music venue inside the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village is family-friendly and allows guests to get up close and personal with the talent.

All shows are open to all ages, with a variety of ticket options ranging from general admission to high-table seating to preferred platform seating, and some VIP-ticketed experiences.

Denise Mongan of Beyond the Groove programs Club Red (with support from Telski, Telluride Mountain Village Owner’s Association, and Mountain Village). And she always nails it. Which means Club Red shows sell out quickly.

The line-up for the venue for the remainder of the 2020 season includes Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, (Feb. 16 & 17); Con Brio (Mar. 12); Anders Osborne & Jackie Greene (Mar. 21). Next up: Samantha Fish. Doors, 7:30 p.m.; show time, 8 p.m. Tickets, $25 – $45, here.

Please scroll down for a preview of the show.

Samantha Fish

You find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair. People who haven’t red hair don’t know what trouble is,” said the heroine of “Anne of Green Gables,” the 1908 novel about a beguiling 11-year-old orphan.

“Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead,” quipped another gorgeous redhead, comedienne Lucille Ball.

A one-time-redhead-turned-blond bombshell who crushes a blues guitar is trouble for sure – but the good kind.

Everyone in the crowd at Telluride Blues & Brews 2016 fell head over heels for one particular (then) redhead in red heels named Samantha Fish. She gave us all, well, Chills & Fever – which happened to be the name of her newest releases back then, a collection of retro-soul covers to which the lady applied her own flavors, accents, and twists.

More kudos, more love the following year, 2017, when Fish played the Main Stage at the 24th Telluride Blues & Brews Festival.

Expectations are high once again when the singer-songwriter returns to perform at Club Red in Mountain Village – though Samantha Fish has never been bound by any expectations whatsoever.

The ties that bind her are the things she sees when she looks into her rear view mirror. Whether it is a tropism for the blues or a passion for Americana that ignites some special fervor, the common bond is her reverence for the roots. Looking back towards an earlier template — no matter what the genre — underlines the driving idea that what came before is a stepping stone for what comes next – as evidenced in the music Fish has made throughout her rocketing career.

While she’s well known as a purveyor of blues, lauded by such legends as Buddy Guy, the Royal Southern Brotherhood and Luther Dickinson, Fish’s real love is simply raw, scrappy rock and roll.

“I grew up on it,” she explained in an interview with Telluride Inside… and Out.

In the end, Samantha Fish is all about remixing yesterday’s classics for maximum impact today.

“A fully-mature, nuanced singer, who has taken old gems and polished them to shimmering perfection,” summed up American Songwriter.

The New York Times described Fish as “an impressive blues guitarist who sings with sweet power” and “one of the genre’s most promising young talents.”

Her hometown paper, The Kansas City Star, noted: “Samantha Fish has kicked down the door of the patriarchal blues club” and observed that the young artist “displays more imagination and creativity than some blues veterans exhibit over the course of their careers.”

When Fish was growing up in Kansas City, a place with a storied history of jazz and blues, her father played many genres of music with his talented friends at the family home. Her mother sang in church. After Fish’s parents divorced, she and her father bonded over musical performances at Knuckleheads, an eclectic Kansas City music venue that presents blues, rock ’n’ roll, country, Americana, bluegras, and more.

Fish played drums in her early teens, but switched to guitar at 15. Singing and writing songs became her passion.

Still in her teens, she overcame her extreme shyness and joined Benoit, Zito and others on stage at Knuckleheads.

Zito became a mentor. In 2010, when Ruf Records needed a third female performer to join Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde for the trio album Girls with Guitars, Zito recommended Fish. He also produced Girls with Guitars as well as Fish’s first solo album for Ruf, Runaway.

In 2012, the album won Fish the Best New Artist Debut award at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis.

So for years now, Fish made a name for herself churning out no-nonsense blues and rock with a tightly honed ensemble.

Her latest release is Kill or Be Kind, with songs that do far more than simply provide a setting for Fish’s pyrotechnics.

They tell captivating stories, set up by verses that deftly set the scene, choruses that lift with real feeling, and hooks that later rise up in your thoughts, even when you’re not aware that you’re thinking of music at all. It’s the kind of songwriting that emerges when raw talent is leavened by experience and aspiration, and when a committed artist genuinely has something to say.

Those qualities make Kill or Be Kind a genuine artistic breakthrough for Fish.

And set the stage for yet another not-to-be-missed Club Red experience:

“At a time when rock music remains in a deep recession — to put it politely — there are few more encouraging sights to see than a badass, slide-guitar-wielding female from Kansas City lobbing some blueswailing rock and roll.

“That’s exactly what Samantha Fish has been serving up for the better part of a decade, particularly on “Bulletproof,” the lead single from her fourth studio album and debut for Rounder Records, “Kill or Be Kind.” It’s probably the best new rock song we’ve heard all year..The songs generally move between horn-speckled, midtempo R&B, rockabilly, slower ballads like “Dream Girl,” and the occasional jaunt back to the snarling rock that opens the album. It’s by far her most mature and diverse album and is a smart long-term move — but damned if Fish doesn’t sound most at home when she turns up her amp and wails,” raved Variety.

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