Rising star, blues-rock guitarist/singer Samantha Fish will perform at the second installment of the Heritage Music Summertime Blues series, 8 p.m. Tuesday at River City Restaurant.
Heritage Music BluesFest and Summertime Blues series producer Bruce Wheeler was prompted to start the Tuesday night series as a lead-up to the annual Heritage Music BluesFest because Fish was not available for the Aug. 8-10 riverfront music festival.
Summertime Blues will feature blues artists in concert at River City Ale Works every Tuesday in July. BluesFest giveaways and discounted festival tickets will be available at all of the Summertime Blues events.
Fish's latest album, "Black Wind Howlin,'" is a follow-up to her 2012 Blues Music Award-winning solo Ruf Records debut, "Runaway."
No "sophomore slump" here, critics have said, as "Black Wind Howlin'" leaps from the speakers with 12 smoking tracks that chart Fish's evolution as songwriter, gunslinger and lyricist.
"Since completing 'Runaway' back in 2011, I've been on tour pretty much non-stop," she said. "I've spent a lot of time writing, playing and listening to music. I feel like the themes and the sound of my music have matured. To me, it's about the human experience from my perspective, as well as people I've come into contact with over the last few years."
Rather than trying to duplicate what she accomplished on her first success, Fish redefines her sound throughout the tracks. She can be brutally rocking on cuts such as the tour bus snapshot of "Miles to Go" ("Twelve hours to Reno/ten hours til the next show"), the swaggering "Sucker Born" ("Vegas left me weary, LA bled me dry/skating on fumes as I crossed the Nevada line ...") and the venomous "Go to Hell" ("Oh, this ain't my first rodeo/You hit yourself a dead end/Your voodoo eyes, ain't gonna cast a spell/So you can go to hell").
"I've become tougher," she said of these head-banging moments. "And I think that was reflected in the sound we went for."
It hasn't been that long since a teenage Fish first started showing up at her local Kansas City blues club, Knuckleheads Saloon, and began soaking up the sounds of visiting modern blues guitar masters such as Mike Zito and Tab Benoit, then going back to '80s heroes such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and following the lineage to the pre-war Delta masters. "I fell in love with it," she said of her growing passion for the form, "and started doing my homework by listening to the old guys like Son House and Skip James."
With those influences as her template, Fish incorporated the sounds of the classic rock of The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty, alongside contemporary artists such as Sheryl Crow and The Black Crowes, in putting together a sound that would become her own.
By the age of 18, Fish had settled on a searing lead guitar style that expressed her own voice rather than mimicking cliched blues licks note-for-note.
After Fish's performance, up in the series is 2004 Contemporary Blues Album winners Trampled Under Foot, July 15; blues veterans The Nighthawks, July 22; and Caroline Wonderland from Austin, Texas, who is compared to both Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughn, July 29.
All shows will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.heritage music fest.com/summer.