I have had the good fortune to have seen and have photographed Samantha Fish a few times over the past 5 years or so; Canton Blues Fest in 2016, Holiday Hootenanny in 2018, Jergel's earlier in 2021, and just last night at the Robins Theatre in Warren, Ohio...lemme tellya, THAT show was the absolute best of the bunch! I have absolutely no complaints about the other Samantha Fish shows that I've seen--they have all been fantastic--but she was off-the-charts last night, coolly commanding the audience, stylish as ever, and letting the stories be told by her songs with that gleaming white Gibson SG, a lustrous Firebird-bodied beast, and of course, the cigar box. Old and new material were in good balance and among the highly enthusiastic and fully engaged crowd, on their feet and crowding the edge of the stage by the time she got to "Bulletproof," there seemed to be a consensus that her entire show epitomized badassery. In the midst of all that, Samantha treated the audience to an acoustic set that included a fantastic rendition of Gladys Night's "If I Were Your Woman," which was an unexpected treat. Speaking of treats, it was my first time seeing the opening act, King Solomon Hicks, but it definitely won't be the last! When I first heard "What the Devil Loves" on Bluesville, this guy had my complete attention so I have been happily anticipating a live show and no disappointment was in sight. From the first note of his flawless guitar phrasing, the phrase that came to my mind was 'joyful noise' because that's what his entire set consisted of. There are those artists that wear their very nature on their faces, walk with it in their step, and dance to it on the fretboard; King Solomon Hicks is one of them, and that nature is clearly one of utter delight and undeniable talent.
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