Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton | Death Wish Blues Review
Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton’s collaboration on Heart, Soul, and Vulnerability: Death Wish Blues
by Griff Stevens
Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton’s collaboration on Death Wish Blues is a striking example of blues-rock evolution; it celebrates the heart and soul of creative partnership. Under the innovative direction of Jon Spencer as producer, this album weaves diverse musical influences into a harmonious raw musical expression, giving the blues genre a breath of fresh air.
The chemistry between Fish and Dayton is rooted in their shared passion for pushing the boundaries of blues. Fish, a multi-award-winning festival headliner, and Dayton, who has recorded with legends like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, contribute their unique backgrounds to create an album that is as complex as it is compelling.
Recorded at Applehead Recording & Production in Woodstock, Death Wish Blues is an audacious collision of blues, soul, punk, funk, and rock-and-roll. Spencer’s genre-defying production magnifies the power of each song, showcasing his iconoclastic ingenuity.
“Riders,” a groove-heavy number, showcases the raw energy and chemistry between Fish and Dayton. Fish reveals the inspiration behind the song:
“‘Riders’ is about being musicians and troubadours and having one-night stands with whatever city you happen to be in,” says Fish. “Every city is personified as a love interest or partner, and in the end, you just move on to whatever adventure is coming up next.”
With its fiery vocal exchange, “Riders” captures the duo’s adventurous musical journey, enriched by a metaphor that personifies cities as transient love interests.
But Death Wish Blues isn’t all swagger and bravado; it also embodies a deeply touching vulnerability. Songs like “Trauma” and “Settle for Less” reveal the inner workings of the artists’ souls. Dayton reflects on this aspect of the collaboration:
“As we were writing some of the love songs you hear on the record, I really had to open up my heart to Samantha to get to the core of what we wanted to express,” says Dayton. “It was good for me to allow myself to be that vulnerable, and I don’t know if it’s something I would’ve been able to do when I was younger.”
This intimacy adds profound depth to the album, enhancing its complexity and richness, much like the nurturing of a delicate seedling in a gardener’s care.
With its captivating blend of styles and remarkable production, Death Wish Blues is a significant contribution to contemporary blues music, displaying the creativity that keeps the blues genre thriving.
Whether a seasoned blues enthusiast or a music junkie seeking something new, you will find Death Wish Blues a riveting experience. Like stumbling upon an old friend in a new city, a serendipitous encounter that both surprises and warms the heart, this album promises a bountiful stimulation of musical exploration. It’s a chance to rediscover the familiar while embracing the unexpected.
In the words of Jon Spencer on the creation of the album:
“I was really excited to work with Samantha Fish on Death Wish Blues. She’s a phenomenal musician with a lot of raw talent. I wanted to help her push her boundaries and explore different sounds. I think we were able to create something really special with this album.”
Death Wish Blues is a clever exploration of blues music’s potential and a tribute to collaborative artistry. Fish, Dayton, and Spencer have crafted a work that is challenging, rewarding, and fresh yet firmly rooted in the blues tradition. Also, read our review of The Stardust Sessions HERE.
Like a chance encounter with an old friend in a bustling city, this album grows richer with each listen, revealing new layers of complexity, creativity, and depth. Every spin unveils another street, another memory, another connection, making Death Wish Blues a musical experience that is both nostalgic and fresh.
Death Wish Blues
Release Date: May 19, 2023
Label: Rounder Records