AmericanaFest 2018 feat. Fantastic Negrito, Samantha Fish, & more
Tue · September 11, 2018
Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pmMercy Lounge
$75 Festival Wristband
This event is 18 and over
7:00pm - Arkansas Dave
8:00pm - Brandi & the Alexanders
9:00pm - Ruen Brothers
10:00pm - Samantha Fish
11:00pm - Fantastic Negrito
7:30pm - My Politic
8:30pm - Jill Andrews
9:30pm - Neighbor Lady
10:30pm - Van William
11:30pm - TBA
The sound of Arkansas Dave is very much rooted in the music created by his predecessors. From the blues to gospel to rock n roll, his work comes full circle showcasing his raw talent. A self taught musician, Dave's songs are interestingly original, blended with the humble sounds of the South. Since his relocation to Austin, Texas, he has played with several Texas artists including Guitar Shorty, the Hard Pans (Jimmy Smith & Claude Bernard of the Gourds), Mickey White, Dr. Zog, Kari K and was the band leader/drummer for his own group, Ouachita ('wah-shi-tah). From the muddy bayous of South Arkansas to the Hill Country of Texas, this vagabond sees the world through music.
His music career has led him across the United States into Canada and to Japan to study taiko under Art Lee and the late, great Daihachi Oguchi Sensei. As the next chapter of Arkansas Dave's career unfolds, the world will hear the other side of his musical personality.
Before you know it, this will be the norm. As the ass-kicking powerhouse vocalist for Brandi & the Alexanders, Brandi's diva-level range and soulful melodies hit the listener right in the gut. Backed by The Alexanders, a funk and psychedelia influenced rock band, she walks a tightrope between classic rock drive and R&B grit.
Like fusing the Jackie Brown soundtrack, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, and Music From Big Pink together; Brandi & the Alexanders have a sound that is slick, big, and instantly classic.
Inspired by their music aficionado father who raised the duo on a steady diet of The Rolling Stones and The Everly Brothers, the two would rehearse in the family kitchen while scrounging for gigs in their blue-collar hometown of Scunthorpe, England. Laughs Rupert, “We’d walk into pubs and clubs as kids and ask the owner if we could play something for the local drunks at 2pm.” It wasn’t until a move to London and the success of their track “Aces,” a song recorded in their studio apartment, that the boys from Scunthorpe went from pub performers to BBC radio staples.
The brothers quickly collected a global audience of fans, none more influential than iconic producer Rick Rubin, who quickly recognized their talent and promptly took the brothers under his wing. “I liked that their songwriting seemed like it was from another era,” explains Rubin. “It’s making something new again with these traditional influences.” Henry adds, “The album was recorded using all real instruments and a live band, resulting in a different sound than what’s present in much of today’s popular music.” Adds Rupert of the collaboration, “It was incredibly exciting - he’s worked with some of our favorite artists of all time and is such a versatile producer. He helped us recognize the strength of Henry and I playing and singing together; it was a foundation to build upon and the guidance we needed.”
The brothers’ artistic background and pedigree come into full focus on their debut studio album ALL MY SHADES OF BLUE (out 6/01 via Ramseur), produced by Rubin and featuring Henry on acoustic guitar and Rupert on electric and acoustic guitar, harmonica, and bass. The album also includes the talents of such boldface names as Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on drums, along with The Killers’ Dave Keuning on strings and Faces and Small Faces legend Ian McLagan on keyboards. The record features both music and lyrics written by the boys throughout their improbable journey. Says Rupert, speaking about both the album and the duo’s entire career, “We’re very lucky in the sense that we’ve been able to do whatever we’ve wanted musically and had it all recorded to the best quality with the best musicians and collaborators. In today’s industry, you don’t usually get that freedom. If nothing else, we’re making the music we want to make and that’s enough for me. Hopefully people will appreciate and enjoy it as much as we do.”
After launching her recording career in 2009, Samantha Fish quickly established herself as a rising star in the contemporary blues world. Since then, the charismatic young singer-guitarist-songwriter has earned a reputation as a rising guitar hero and powerful live performer, while releasing a series of acclaimed albums that have shown her restless creative spirit consistently taking her in new and exciting musical directions.
The New York Times called Fish “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.”
Having already made it clear that she’s more interested in following her heart than she is in repeating past triumphs, Samantha Fish delivers some of her most compelling music to date with Belle of the West, her fifth studio album. The deeply soulful, personally charged 11-song set showcases Fish’s sublime acoustic guitar skills as well as her rootsy, emotionally resonant songwriting.
Such memorable new originals as “American Dream,” “Blood in the Water,” “Need You More” and “Don’t Say You Love Me” demonstrate the artist’s knack for organic Americana songcraft, while a trio of cover tunes—R.L. Burnside’s “Poor Black Mattie,” Lillie Mae’s “Nearing Home” and the Jimbo Mathus-penned title track—attest to her substantial interpretive skills as well as her varied musical interests.
“To me, this is a natural progression,” Fish notes. “It’s a storytelling record by a girl who grew up in the Midwest. It’s very personal. I really focused on the songwriting and vocals, the melodies and emotion, and on bringing another dimension to what I do. I wasn’t interested in shredding on guitar, although we ended up with a few heavier tracks. I love Mississippi blues; there’s something very soulful and very real about that style of music, so this was a chance to immerse myself in that.”
Fish recorded Belle of the West in the relaxed, rural creative atmosphere of the legendary Zebra Ranch Studios in the North Hills of Mississippi with producer Luther Dickinson (of North Mississippi Allstars fame), with whom she worked previously on her 2015 album Wild Heart. The studio team included some of the region’s most iconoclastic musicians, including Dickinson, solo artist and Jack White associate Lillie Mae (whose distinctive vocals are featured on “Nearing Home”), much-traveled juke-joint blues artist Lightnin’ Malcolm (whose featured on “Poor Black Mattie”), Squirrel Nut Zippers founder Jimbo Mathus, upright bassist and beloved solo artist Amy LaVere, Tikyra Jackson, Trina Raimey and Shardé Thomas, granddaughter of the legendary Southern bluesman Otha Turner.
“I wanted to do this acoustic-electric record, and tap into the style and swagger of Mississippi,” Fish states, adding, “Any time you dive into another place, another vibe and a new group of people, you’re challenging yourself to grow musically. I felt very at home a Zebra Ranch, and I’ve known Luther and Malcolm for years, so it was a very comfortable situation. When you’re making a record like this, it has to feel natural if you want people to respond to it.
Belle of the West follows on the heels of Fish’s March 2017 release Chills & Fever, which achieved top 10 status in the Billboard Blues charts. Here she expanded her stylistic arsenal to take on a set of lesser-known vintage R&B gems, with help from members of garage-soul stalwarts the Detroit Cobras. “Having these two very different records come out back to back this year has been really liberating,” says Samantha.
The creative drive that fuels Belle of the West and Chills & Fever has been a crucial element of Samantha Fish’s approach from the beginning. Growing up in a musical family in Kansas City, Missouri, she became obsessed with music early life, taking up drums before switching to guitar at the age of 15. By the time she was 20, she had formed her own trio and self-released her first album. She soon caught the ear of the renowned blues label Ruf Records, which in 2011 released Girls with Guitars, which teamed her with fellow axewomen Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. The same year saw Ruf release Fish’s solo studio debut Runaway. The album was named Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis.
Black Wind Howlin’ (2013) and Wild Heart (2015) followed, winning considerable critical acclaim and further establishing Fish as a prominent presence in the blues community. Wild Heart reached the top slot on Billboard’s blues chart. She also collaborated with blues-rock veterans Jimmy Hall and Reese Wynans on the 2013 project The Healers. The same year, she jammed onstage with blues icon Buddy Guy, and guested on Devon Allman’s album Turquoise.
Fish continues to maintain the same hardworking, prolific approach that’s carried her this far. “I think I’ve always had that,” she says. “Music is my life, so what other choice do I have but to go out and make music? We do tour quite a bit, and maybe it’s kind of crazy to put out two dramatically different albums in one year. But I like to work hard. This is who I am and this is what I do, and when I’m writing and recording and touring is when I feel the most like myself. And now we have a moment where people are paying attention, so I have to make the most of it. I feel like I have a lot to say right now, so why not say it?”
As far as Samantha Fish is concerned, her musical future is an open road. “I’m never gonna be a traditional blues artist, because that’s not who I am,” she asserts. “But it’s all the blues for me. When Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf came out, what they were doing didn’t sound like anything that had been done in blues before. You’ve gotta keep that kind of fire and spirit. I’m never gonna do Muddy Waters better than Muddy Waters, so I have to be who I am and find my best voice.
Each song is a real story about a musician from Oakland who experienced the highs of a million dollar record deal, the lows of a near fatal car accident that left him in a coma, and is now in the midst of a rebirth that took him from the streets of Oakland to the Grammy stage. On the way he won the NPR Tiny Desk Contest and toured the world with artists like Chris Cornell, Temple of the Dog and Sturgill Simpson. June 15 brought the release of Fantastic Negrito's heavily anticipated new release Please Don't Be Dead, the follow up to his 2017 Grammy winning debut album The Last Days of Oakland. "The last album was more observational," says Negrito. "On this one I'm bringing the fight."
- The Alternate Root
“These are the reasons I feel the way I feel, I drink the way I do, I am the way I am,” lead singer-songwriter Kaston Guffey explains of his band My Politic’s new album 12 Kinds Of Lost. “Its pretty dark,” he says, “but honest.”
My Politic has created a storytelling masterpiece on 12 Kinds Of Lost, exploring the human condition through empathetic narratives against a backdrop of Appalachian-influenced Americana, Country & Folk music.
12 Kinds Of Lost is an anthology record with each song telling tales through a series of characters coping with heartache, depression, anxiety, detaching from roots, dealing with cancer and fighting addiction.
Like a 1-2 punch, Guffey is a raconteur of imagination while co-writer Nick Pankey is the grounding force that accentuates the songcraft. With tight harmonies and a workshop of instruments including Dobro mandolin, upright bass, fiddle, drums and more, the songwriting duo is surrounded by a band of skilled musicians.
Guffey and Pankey met in 2003 in the small town of Ozark, Missouri while playing in other musical projects. In 2006, My Politic was formed and at the age of 16, the boys recorded their first album,A Few Words I Couldn’t Find Yesterday. A train carried them to Boston with two records under their belts, and the duo began honing their sound with living room recordings. After three years in New England, they settled into Nashville, TN.
The two set up shop, writing and picking on their front porch. The house became a staple, coined the Mad Valley Lodge, the home that would become the well where the songs of 12 Kinds Of Lost layed, honored by its image as the album’s artwork. A musician’s collective, the house is a landing spot for intimate performance showcases of fellow troubadours passing through Nashville. Pankey documents the happenings on his Mad Valley Lodge podcast.
12 Kinds Of Lost is My Politic’s first studio album, a progression from their previous bare bones and basement recordings released previously. This is a band that represents togetherness and community. Like old cowboys used to sit around a fire telling fables, My Politic shares tales of uncharted territory where great art still blossoms.
1 Cannery Row
Nashville, TN, 37203