“At the end of the day, we’re all still a bunch of kids cause we play music for a living, right,” Samantha Fish says with a knowing laugh. Having been a musician since her teens, she is very familiar with life on the road, playing guitar and singing songs of her own creation. She was sort of a hidden gem before the world gradually picked up on her bluesy melodies and subtly sassy vocals. Once Devon Allman collaborated with her for his 2013 remake of the popular Tom Petty-Stevie Nicks duet, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” her star was on the rise.
Fish, a Kansas City native who calls New Orleans home, released her seventh studio album, Faster, last September to rave reviews. A delicious etouffee seasoned with enough blues, rock, sass and melodies to satisfy even the harshest taste buds, the album spotlights her maturity in both lyrics and vocals, something Big Mama Thornton would be proud of. Although Fish lacks the huff and puff of the legendary blues singer, she does emit the boldness and spirit of some of the best feisty females music has seen. Whether she is throwing the blame on herself in the ballad “All The Words” or flipping a sarcastic middle finger on “All Ice No Whiskey,” this lady knows right where to put the tension, tears or a little of both.
Admittedly a shy person, Fish didn’t hide behind a bunch of covers for her debut solo album, Runaway. Nine of the ten tracks were written by Fish herself. And she continued to follow that pathway right up to Faster. Although she can seduce out a mean “I Put A Spell On You” and add a little more pep in the step of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talkin’” Fish chooses to save the fun homages to her blues influences for the live stage. For the past several albums, she has also upped her collaborating juices, writing with Kate Pearlman, Jim McCormick and Faster producer Martin Kierszenbaum, who has put his magic touch on albums by Sting, Sheryl Crow and Lady Gaga, giving Fish a wider bridge to expand upon her pop/soul influences such as Prince.
On a cold Louisiana afternoon last week, Fish called in to talk about her latest album, touring during a pandemic, her musical motivations, suppressing her inner fangirl when meeting Nine Inch Nails drummer Josh Freese, working with a laid back Luther Dickinson and not tackling a Rolling Stones classic … or two.
[Note: although Fish talked in our interview about touring, it was announced on Monday that her February European tour has been rescheduled to October.
So what’s happening in your world at the moment?
I’m home, getting ready to go out for another tour, just a shortie, for like eight dates. Right now, we’re just kind of bobbing and weaving, I guess, through this new variant of covid and trying to figure out how to safely make stuff work. But it is frustrating, you know. We’ve had to push off so many tours and postpone them and I know it’s frustrating for us and the fans and for promoters. But the thing that is different from where we were two years ago is we have the tools now to kind of figure it out, whereas two years ago everything was just cancelled and that was it.
But you were able to kind of go out and play some shows
We did. We did some very well-strategically planned-out shows where we did social distancing, outdoors, masked events and I’d say they were mostly successful. It’s just difficult to try and get everybody on the same page as far as public health and safety. Meanwhile, you’re trying to put on a concert. But we pulled it off and we got to play and people got to see a show. It got us through to the next couple of months and then we tried it again. So we started inching our way out just anyway that we could to play because that’s what we do. Players play. That’s my band and that’s me and we all want to be out there doing this and people want to see it too. So it was very challenging in 2020 and now it’s not as challenging. We’ve got the vaccines and guidelines we can work with and be safe. I know there are some people out there that are super-terrified, and rightfully so, and I completely understand and can relate to it. I wish we could just get past this soon.
You still had time to do this great album. Where was the biggest difference in creating this album from the previous ones you’ve done?
You know, I’ve been a touring artist even before I was a recording artist so when I started writing and putting albums together, a lot of it was done from the road, like in hotel rooms and between shows. It’s like, you get in the writing sessions where you can fit them. So when I really realized, oh my God, this is actually going to happen for quite some time, this isn’t going away anytime soon, I said, why don’t I just bury myself in this next album and really focus on being creative. I set aside time every single day just to write.
When I first started writing the album, it was pretty gloomy. It was a very scary time and sad and I know I was definitely feeling that. It was probably mid-summertime when I kind of snapped out of it and was like, you know, I want to make a record that makes people feel good. When it comes out, I just want something that makes people feel empowered and confident and happy and energized. After meeting Martin, my producer, and making his acquaintance and we started co-writing together, he had a really great energy and enthusiasm. I just wanted to make something that was super-charged and exciting and fun, and honestly, it really helped my mood a lot to write like that cause I could be having a really shit day and then I write something fun and it was like, yeah, I feel better. And there are like tender moments on the album too but I think overall it’s kind of an empowering and exciting album.
So what did you do with that original gloom? Did you turn those songs around and make them happier or did you just push them aside?
I have a lot of songs in my trash bin (laughs). But I’m sure I’ll recycle these ideas later down the road. I have a lot of songs that I’ve written and demoed out that I’ve never done anything with. I think if you talk to any artist, they probably have hundreds of songs that no one will ever hear, that just don’t make the final cut. Some were good but at the end of the day when I went to put together the songs and we chose the songs we wanted to go on the record, some of them didn’t quite fit. We felt like those twelve, fourteen songs that we recorded felt good together and they felt like a cohesive piece, whereas sometimes you write something and it’s a little too far off the wall but maybe for something else down the line. You never know when you’ll fine-tune a song and it’s going to get called up to be something else.
Were you comfortable having the time to go deeper into yourself writing these songs without the chaos of the road happening around you?
Yeah, I found it to be equal parts really a great thing for me but also frustrating because it’s not always easy being inspired in the same four walls every day, you know. At the height of the pandemic I don’t think any of us were really leaving a lot. I’m talking about the days when we were washing our Doritios bags off. There wasn’t a lot of leaving the house and that was when I really kind of dug in. There were some days where I couldn’t quite find what I was looking for inspiration-wise. I just felt tapped.
I think having life experiences are necessary, it’s a necessary thing for a songwriter. You’ve got to have something to pull from and some experiences. I’ve always felt comfortable writing autobiographically. I try not to shy away from emotions too much when I’m writing and I try to be as honest as I can cause I feel like that’s what relates to people the most, is the honesty.
And if you’re doing the exact same thing every day, it’s a little tougher. But at the end of the day, you’re a storyteller. There are days when it’s like, I have nothing to say about me personally. I haven’t had enough happen where I feel comfortable saying something. But that’s when you can go into storyteller mode. We all have these life experiences that we go through that we can all relate to and sometimes if it’s not happening to you, you can still write about it. It’s all right there, it’s a human condition.
Faster really showcases the variety of your influences and putting them into your own musical personality. That being said, which song did you have the most fun manipulating the influence?
There is a surprise guitar moment that felt very Prince-esque on “Hypnotic.” I try not to even say that I was trying to do Prince because he was just so great, but really it’s just sort of my version of Prince through this like filtration. It’s slightly honoring this guy because yeah, I’m a fan but you’re always honoring people when you’re writing original stuff because I think we can’t help but be influenced by the people that have shaped us and molded us. I’m really big into the rock & roll icons – I love Bowie and I love the Stones – so I feel like you’re always calling upon the greats and you’re calling upon your influences to shape but it goes through this weird filtration process where it all comes together and then you find your own voice in there somehow and something unique can happen. Like, I’ve never really done a song in that high falsetto on record before but it was something I wanted to explore. So I brought that guitar melody and the vocal melody and the melody sounds seductive so it only made sense if the lyrics are kind of seductive.
Is there another song you had fun on?
I really enjoyed writing “All Ice No Whiskey,” which started out as a co-write between me and two of my songwriting friends, Kate Pearlman and Jim McCormick. Sometimes I like really simplifying things and going, okay, I want to write an entire song off of one guitar groove; something that literally just repeats and repeats and repeats and then you layer different melodies over the top and find a way to build hooks on top of hooks through the melodic line but you keep that guitar kind of similar one-note. I don’t know, it’s just fun to me. So that was kind of like an exercise in that and I started working on that song with Kate and Jim and then we brought Martin into the process later and he and I came up with that different counter-melody to the chorus. I think that’s the most people I’ve ever had co-write on a song with me (laughs). But it was fun because they’re all so incredibly talented. Jim’s an incredible storyteller and Kate is a really great lyricist, she’s definitely more of a pop-oriented writer. And Martin is exceptionally good at writing pop music. So to kind of mix this blues riff and then crash course through these different writers to make something that’s all just very hook-y and it takes you on a journey and does exciting things. I felt at one point like, I’m just going to do whatever I want, whatever feels right, and it was sort of liberating and exciting and I had the right partners to do it and carry it off. And there were a lot of moments, songwriting-wise, where I felt like I really got to push it in a way that I hadn’t pushed it before.
“All The Words” highlights the maturity that has come into your lyrics and your vocals, and you’ve kept it quite minimal. Can you tell us more about the genesis of that song?
That’s one of my solo writes. I did a lot of collaborations on this album but that’s one I did on my own. It’s a very personal song, super heartfelt. When we did the session, I wanted to leave it to be the last song recorded just because I like putting those kinds of ballads at the end of a record. It’s a good way to cap things off. But basically we just went in a room all together, turned off all the lights and played together as a band. Martin played the grand piano, Diego Navaira [The Last Bandoleros] played bass and I played guitar and sang and we really sort of knocked it out in a couple of takes. It wasn’t something that we went and constructed later behind the scenes. It was just something very soulful and raw and it felt like a good closer for the record. It was just one of those super personal moments.
There is a line in it where you say, “Cause the caged bird never flies,” and it’s such a simple phrase yet every time you listen to the song it keeps conjuring up more deep emotions and different meanings. What did that line mean to you when it popped up originally?
I got to say that I love that it means different things to the listeners. To me, that’s the earmark of a good song, when it can mean a million different things to a million different people. When I wrote it, I was writing about letting go of a relationship because you know you’re holding someone back. I think people assume I’m talking about myself as the caged bird but I’m not. I’m actually the cage-er and not the cage-ee (laughs). It’s just recognizing that sometimes letting go is love and that is really the overall message of that song.
Your early albums are not covers heavy, they’re your songs. Did that mean you had that much confidence in what you had to say lyrically from the beginning?
No, but I had a lot of arrogance (laughs). I don’t know if it’s arrogance really but I just always wanted to be a songwriter and the thing about songwriting to me, there are those people that wake up at twenty years old – just look at Bob Dylan, a phenomenal writer from a very, very young age – but I’ve always had to work hard to get better at everything. It’s not something I woke up and was like, I’m amazing at this! I also feel like you’ve got to go out and you’ve got to try and workshop and fail and grow and the only way to grow is to put it all out there and experience it.
I feel like I’ve grown as a songwriter but it’s also subjective and it’s up to personal opinion. I think, personally, I’ve gotten better at songwriting but you might ask some people who listen to my band and say I’ve gotten worse (laughs). It’s all subjective and that’s the cool thing about art. But I wouldn’t say I had confidence. I think it’s just something I wanted to do. I wasn’t a great guitar player when I started playing out in front of people but it’s something I wanted to do. Same for singing. I can’t say I was a great singer but it’s just something I wanted to do. If it compels you, you want to get better at it and you just have to do it and put the work in. There are some songs I listen to now and I cringe. Did I think I was funny? Did I think I was Tom Waits? (laughs). What was I doing! (laughs). So I do cringe but it’s a snapshot of who you are in a moment and then it’s gone and then you’re somebody else. So have to give yourself some grace, right. Just try to be happy and recognize those things made you happy in the moment.
When you first started learning to play the guitar, what was the hardest thing for you to get the hang of?
There is always certain chords that are a little harder to make the shape of, just because it’s a little more difficult to get to, but I guess just having good technique. I’m the type of person who if I struggle with something, I’m going to do my best to find a bastardized way to reach that. It might not be the way that’s good for your, I don’t know, hand health, you know what I mean? But I take little shortcuts because it’s easier in the moment and I’ve had to sometimes slow down and unlearn some bad shortcuts I learned because it’s limiting in other ways. Like, if I just had learned the proper hand position, I would have been able to do a lot more in this area than with my bastardized thing.
But I go both ways cause I also tell people that technique is not the be all end all. We all have different shapes of hands and sizes and it’s not really fair to say let’s all play the same way. But there are some things personally that I feel like, yeah, that was a Samantha shortcut or crutch that I’ve had to unlearn (laughs). So just having that discipline to practice all the time. I love playing guitar, I love going out and playing live, but it’s like going to the gym sometimes. I still have to find the motivation to sit down and run the boring shit and practice to a metronome, hit the scales to keep things fluid and loose. Sometimes finding that discipline is a little hard. I’m still like a kid in that way.
When did you take an interest in slide?
I recorded a slide song on Runaway and it was something, again, that I was terrible at but I really wanted to do it. It took me a while to figure out that slide requires a certain amount of finesse; like you are barely touching the strings, it’s so light, but it sounds so aggressive. So I was always pressing and you’d hear a lot of clanking on the frets and I wasn’t getting the sustain out of the string. If you look at Derek Trucks, one of the best slide players in the world, he’s so delicate. The way he moves it, it’s like a butterfly.
For me, I think the thing that really helped because of my inclination to really dig in was getting a cigar box guitar. I got that just kind of on a whim. I first saw someone playing one when I was seventeen years old at this festival called the King Biscuit Blues Festival. There were a lot of people down there playing these homemade instruments that I thought sounded really raw and incredible. Years later, we ended up getting hired to play the same festival and I saw somebody selling them on a street corner and I was like, just for memory’s sake I’m going to buy one, and it’s the same one I play to this day.
Because of the way the guitar is set up, the strings are really high off the neck and I can really dig in. So I really learned a lot about playing slide on that thing and, again, unlearned some of my bad behaviors, like digging in really hard with the slide when I went and jumped to the other regular guitar. I just think it’s so pretty and it adds a different texture. As a guitar player, I was in a trio for such a long time, it’s like you’ve got to do anything and everything to make that shit interesting (laughs). It’s just the three of us and we have to fill an entire evening of music so having the slide was just another tool in the toolbox to give a different texture and approach to a song and make it interesting.
You’ve talked often about Sticky Fingers. Which of those songs do you hear Samantha Fish on the most?
I really like “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” even though I’ve never been able to actually recreate that song, just because it’s like three guitar players and they’re playing different tunings. But I love that riff. “Bitch,” we used to do that in Girls With Guitars, the first band I was in. Our big single was a cover of “Bitch,” which I thought was really cool. I covered “Wild Horses” and “Dead Flowers” for years and I think those are such beautiful ballads. As a singer I’ve always wanted to go out there and have that big singing moment in a ballad where it’s all about the vocals. But those songs, it’s all about the song, it’s all about the band and that’s where the emotion is, the emotional sad harmonies. It’s not about a big vocal moment, it’s this group effort that makes it beautiful. I think their songwriting and their approach is pretty incredible and timeless.
Did you ever try “Sister Morphine”?
I never did “Sister Morphine,” no. I’ve never tackled that one. “Let It Loose,” I’ve always wanted to do that one. I guess that is off of Exile On Main Street and that’s another one that people don’t do. But “Sister Morphine” is a great song. We did “Heartbreaker” for a while. I’ve covered a lot of Stones stuff in my career.
Is it more fun to do Keith or Mick Taylor?
(laughs) Well, again, I have to come up with a bastardized version of both because I’m the only guitar player in the band so it’s like I’m trying to cop both parts. I guess that’s probably why I’ve given it a break in the last few years because I realized, Samantha, you’re limited, is this arrogance again? (laughs) You can’t pull it off in a way that you feel confident about it so don’t even bother, you know. Anytime you have a different formation in your group, you have to really reimagine certain parts and just pick what you think is the most iconic part of it, I guess, and try and cop some little shit from the other part. It’s hard sometimes and that’s why I’ve never tried to tackle “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” cause there is absolutely no way. I’d have to have my guitar tech running out in the middle of the song throwing different guitars at me and it would be impossible.
You came from a Jazz city, you moved to a Jazz city. How has Jazz been an inspiration to you and where do you see it in your music, if at all?
I wouldn’t say Jazz and I wouldn’t put me up against any Jazz person around but I have an appreciation and a respect for the history and tradition. Where I come from, Kansas City has such a super deep rich heritage and I think it often gets overlooked as a musical city. But growing up there, you can’t really escape knowing this is where Count Basie came from and that we had Charlie Parker. Growing up there, there was a blues jam every night of the week. I could go anywhere in the city and sit in somewhere and the community of musicians there were very loving and very encouraging and they were very patient, cause I didn’t know shit. So there were a lot of people who were willing to take me and mentor me and be kind to me.
Once I came to New Orleans, I love the history here, I love the folklore here; everything from the inception of rock & roll and how it came to be in New Orleans. Plus there’s this deep folklore of all my rock & roll heroes came here and it’s all very romantic and poetic. I think I came here because I liked that romance and I felt like it was going to be very inspiring as a songwriter, to go where my heroes went and soak that up. I become a fan more and more all the time of the local sound. I was listening to Allen Toussaint when I lived in Kansas City, and Irma Thomas, and when you come down here you discover more and more and more. So I guess it shapes you. I can’t say specifically that I’m throwing in any hardcore Trad Jazz stuff into my music but wherever you go we’re all sponges and we’re soaking that up.
You’ve worked with Luther Dickinson, who is an absolute sweetheart, and he’s been a producer for you. How does he do it, cause he’s so darn nice and I can’t imagine him saying, “You do this, Samantha!”
(laughs) That is not how Luther approaches records at all. I’d be asking him questions and Luther, he just wants you to be you, and I found that at times really, really freeing. And then on days where I was feeling a lot of stress and anxiety, I was like, “Could you please just tell me what to do,” and he’s like, “No man, do your thing.” And you’re like, “Dude, you’re driving me crazy. Just tell me what to do.” (laughs). But he really wants you to sound like you so I felt like whenever we worked together he wanted to get the best out of me that I could deliver.
And of course, I learned a lot about guitar playing just from working with Luther. He’s very forthcoming with what he knows and his wisdom and he loves sharing it with people. He’s taught me so many tricks I think about when I’m playing. His approach as a guitar player, he’s like, “When you’re doing your solo, start with the melody. It’s another hook. Don’t just come out and solo and bullshit and basically not say anything. You want to start with the melody, build up something and then somehow at the peak of the solo come back into that melody in another register in some other way that really ties everything together. Then you’re taking the listener on a journey.” So I learned a lot about how to construct solos from him. But he was never pushy, you know. He wasn’t controlling or overbearing, he just wanted you to get the best out of you. He’s an incredible man and he’s one of my favorite guitar players. I really feel like he’s so dynamic and his tone is really unique and he’s fun to be around.
Who was the first real rock star you ever met?
I’ve met a couple of good ones. I always consider Jimmy Hall, from Wet Willie, to be a true, true rock star. I love southern rock and I’ve gotten to play with him and perform with him a lot and he’s amazing, one of my favorite singers out there today. I met Alice Cooper and I’ve gotten to perform with him and he was really, really nice, a very sweet person. I got to perform with Steven Tyler, which was really cool. One time in Hawaii we were doing a festival out there at this Willie K Blues Festival on Maui and it was a really amazing event cause I showed up and I wasn’t sure what to expect. A lot of these guys live in Maui during the winter months so they come out and they guest on the festival so I got to back them up and everything and that was really cool.
You know, when I was doing this record with Martin, he brought in Josh Freese to play drums. Josh played in Nine Inch Nails and I was struggling so hard not to be like, “Is Trent Reznor as nice as I think he might be?” (laughs) So I waited till the last day and then I fanned out a little bit. I’m like, “So tell me about Trent. Is he cool?” And he’s like, “Yeah, he’s cool.” And I’m like, “Okay, good, thank you.” (laughs)
What was the first song you obsessed over as a kid?
I don’t know if I’ve fully obsessed over songs. I’ve had some that I’d repeat and play over and over but I think when I first started playing guitar I was really into classic rock. I was going through my boxes of stuff at my dad’s over the holidays and I found some old mix tapes. I called them like Sam’s Summer Jams (laughs), back when you did shit like that. It’s all like classic rock and stuff that I liked driving around listening to. I guess I thought it was really cool to be in high school and listening to classic rock and not the Top 40 pop everybody else was listening to. I was like, I’m into REO Speedwagon! (laughs).
I think when I started playing guitar, there were two stations you’d hear, I guess three, where you’d hear guitar solos: on country radio and I was never really into the New Country, you’d hear guitar solos on alternative rock – like Black Keys, Jack White – and then there was classic rock. So when I started playing guitar, I don’t know, that was kind of the starting point of music for me, what was on the radio.
My dad took me to my first concert, which was a Sheryl Crow concert, when I was thirteen so I kind of became mildly obsessed with her, because I hadn’t realized what a badass she was. I remember being like, why would anybody go see someone play live music? Why don’t I just listen to their CD? I didn’t get it and then I went and saw her show and it was so inspiring. I was like, oh my God! This is fucking incredible! She’s running around, she’s playing guitar and bass and grand piano and she’s a total rock star. I had just never experienced anything like that. So I remember becoming pretty obsessed with her. Then the internet started happening around this time and I just started finding random stuff. It’s pretty incredible how fast we can consume music.
When you started getting into the songs on the radio, what was the main attraction within a song?
I think I was attracted to that feeling of being badass (laughs). I guess it was just the feeling I got when I listened to it. I wanted to have that feeling and perform it and have that feeling of confidence. To me it was such a confidence builder, learning how to play music. You know, I was an incredibly shy person when I was a kid – I’m still pretty shy – so I was very introverted and terrified of social interactions and I think music gave me a way to communicate with the world and with everyone around me and it gave me confidence. It was like all of a sudden I had something that I could work at and be good at.
When I listened to a song I liked, I guess I was always attracted to vocals. I wanted to be a singer; and guitar solos, I wanted to be cool so I wanted to play solos like that. It’s like, why do we all start this – we want to be cool! – but it makes me feel good … and cool (laughs).
Tell us about your first experience at Jazz Fest in New Orleans
My first experience at Jazz Fest, I was there as a civilian. Tab Benoit was stuck in traffic, and I’d known him for years, and he was about to play the Gentilly Stage and I remember being there in shorts and flip flops, and my manager Rueben comes over to me and says, “Tab is late and you’re going to have to play in front of people.” I was so fucking scared and the guy who runs Jazz Fest, Quint Davis, is there and he’s like, “You’re really going to do this?” So they strap Tab’s guitar on me, which was like going midway down my thighs and his strings are like a half inch off the fretboard and I don’t know how the fuck I’m going to play this thing! And we were getting ready to go onstage in front of all these people at the Gentilly Stage and I was going to hamfist my way through some covers with the band until Tab got there. And finally, Rueben comes over and takes the guitar: “Tab just pulled up.”
So that was my first heart attack. It was like the scariest moment of my life! I was terrified, cause there was like 20,000 people out there at the stage. Am I really going to do this right now? I look like shit! (laughs) And I’m going to go up there and play this impossible guitar that Tab makes possible but I don’t think anybody else could, cause it’s incredibly personal to him. It was quite a moment and then the next year I played the Blues Tent with my band.
I’m hopeful we have Jazz Fest this year cause I know it would do a lot of people a lot of good to have something that big come back. I applaud them for putting together these festivals every year even though they’ve had to postpone and push back. Just even having the announcement, it elevates people’s moods so much. We all need this.
What element do you think can be added to the blues that will keep it progressing into the future without it losing its roots?
Imagination! I mean, I think just being creative and having an imagination about it. What I boil it down to, what I am trying to do, I want to honor the sound and the tradition of the people that came before me and I try to implement a lot of those sounds. But you’ve got to come up with creative ways to say it in your own unique way. I applaud the purists and the people who keep the tradition alive in that way but for me personally, I feel like I’m never going to make a Muddy Waters song sound better than Muddy Waters did. So I try not to steer too close to that. But you can implement elements and you can still honor the past by moving forward in the future.
So I think just having imagination and creativity on your side. If you’re really trying to stick to an authentic sound, just keep checking in with that. I think there is so much worry, in this genre specifically; we worry a lot about making sure it fits within this realm. I feel like at the end of the day that can be kind of limiting. I guess it’s just up to the artist and the listener. We’re getting into this era where there are so many sub-genres of pop music. Because of the internet and the way things have blown up, there is so much music that you can consume, and it’s all across the board. Cross-pollination. I don’t know how the music industry in general is going to keep up with it. How do you categorize everything? They’re either going to have to get looser with what they consider a certain genre of music or you’re going to have a lot of artists that you’re not going to know what to do with, because there are so many people out there making new stuff that they don’t know where to put it.
What do you consider yourself?
That’s a tough question. We just had this happen with Faster. What do you consider this album? A lot of people consider it to be a rock & roll album. I still find there are blues elements to it but I wouldn’t consider it a purely traditional blues record by any means. Contemporary, maybe. It’s just hard to say. You know back to the band we were talking about, The Rolling Stones, they were considered a pop act when they first emerged and now look at what we categorize them, they’re a rock band. But when they first came out, they were making pop music, it was just popular music. The categories are always shifting and changing. Maybe in ten years what I made last year will seem more like a blues album than it did this year. But again, it’s hard for me to say. I always tell people the elements that are involved are blues, rock & roll and pop. There is some Americana to it. But I don’t know what that exactly makes me (laughs). I’m not exactly sure.
You’re a gumbo
I’m a gumbo! (laughs)
Portraits by Kevin King; live photographs by Leslie Michele Derrough