Kansas City native Samantha Fish has been singing the blues since she was 18, getting an on-the-job musical education by sitting in with whichever real deal was performing at renowned local dive Knuckleheads Saloon. That was 13 years ago, and she's put out eight albums in that time, though it's the most recent, Chills & Fever, that is the most impressive. Released in March of this year, Fish made the astute move of recording it in Detroit backed by members of the Detroit Cobras, with Bobby Harlow of The Go producing. That dirtied her up a bit, and the authenticity drips off a song like the album's title track. Fish plays Tucson this week, so we asked her about the five albums that changed her life.
On Wednesday, September 20 at 8 p.m., 191 Toolel, 191 Toole Ave., $17-$20, 21+.
1. The Rolling Stones-Sticky Fingers
I guess that's the one that had my favorite rock 'n' roll songs, and the one they countrified a little bit. I was really into that, when they were trying to sound like a country band. I'm a huge fan of the Rolling Stones. "Can't You Hear Me Knockin," "Wild Horses," "Brown Sugar" and "Dead Flowers"—that one changed everything for me.
2. R.L. Burnside-A Ass Pocket of Whiskey
I became such a huge Fat Possum fan, and that was the one he did with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. It marries this punk rock/blues thing that I really was in love with. So when I discovered that, that was pretty much it for me.
3. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers-Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
I was such a Heartbreakers fan when I was a kid. Mike Campbell is one of my favorite guitar players. Of course, that one has "American Girl" on it. It's a classic album. It's a namesake too, so you know what the band's all about. You're coming out with some conviction.
4. Jason Isbell-Southeastern
That really changed my feelings and approach towards songwriting. That was such a prolific album that came out. The writing is devastating. It inspired me to write really personally, because I think I'd been playing it safe for such a long time, so hearing somebody come out with such a personal, heavy album was a big influence.
5. Allen Toussaint-Southern Nights
I just moved to New Orlean, so that one was such a special record to me for the last couple of years or so. It definitely sparked some interest in that area for me, and he's such a prolific songwriter. He's written songs for so many people that I like. Not really the album itself, but I was such a fan of his that it became one of my favorite records. t's the one everybody likes, but it's a fantastic album.