6th Annual Kearney Blues Festival
Saturday, May 25th, 2013
Samantha Fish, The Josh Vowell Band, Katy Guillen and The Rev. Jimmie Bratcher
Sponsored by Westbrook Care Center
Just a few months
ago, very few people outside Kansas
City, Missouri knew
there was a young, dynamic musician named Samantha Fish getting ready to
take the world by storm. In fact, it's not all that long ago that the 22‐year‐old singer/guitarist first discovered the blues
and started paying her dues on that city's local scene. Her deceptively mature
voice is sultry, yet innocent at the same time, while she intensely wails away
on guitar. This deveptively mature young woman has set out to show the world
that although she may be young, she can certainly wail the Blues.
With Runaway, her solo debut, she now breaks out big
time, announcing herself as a newcomer to be reckoned with. Throughout, Fish
demonstrates astonishing range and depth as a songwriter. Her vocals are cool,
confident and nothing less than beguiling.
Backing her on this eclectic collection of modern electric
blues is the same crack team that first convened for the making of Girls
With Guitars. That collaboration with fellow female artists Cassie Taylor
and Dani Wilde, released earlier this year, already showed that Fish refuses to
be intimidated, even when working with musicians more experienced than herself.
"They are incredibly talented and creative, so it made for fun
sessions," she says of the well‐oiled
studio band heard on Runaway. Jamie Little, one of the UK's most in‐demand drummers, reunites with bassist Cassie
Taylor to give the record plenty of rhythmic thump. Producer Mike Zito, a St. Louis native and 2010
Blues Music Award winner, adds thick, meaty electric guitar on most cuts.
"Mike and I have known each other for a few years now, so he knew the
sound and style I was after. He did a great job of taking ideas and giving them
direction in the studio setting."
In between making these first two albums, Fish spent a month
on the road with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde for the first leg of the year‐long Blues Caravan Tour. It
gave her valuable opportunity to road‐test
the material heard on Runaway to a discriminating audience. With an
exciting new debut album now in her back pocket, the tour continues throughout
the summer and into the fall of 2011, touching down at many European and North
American festivals and even taking to the seas on the Legendary Rhythm &
Blues Cruise in October.
Hailing from northeast Kansas, the Josh
Vowell Band roots itself firmly in the blues and while
bringing their own distinct sound to their fans, they also reflect influences
received from a wide variety of artists of different eras and genres. The
mixture of bluesy goodness from Chicago, Memphis, Texas and the
swampland lends itself well with JVB's Kansas
dirt road flavor for a great recipe of musical personality and sound.
Josh Vowell has been bending strings
on his Fender guitars and providing lead vocals at a level that has propelled
him to qualify for four International Blues Challenge appearances in as many
years. In 2010 and 2011, Josh and the band represented Topeka
respectively. In 2012, along with the incredibly talented harmonica player,
Justin Shelton, Vowell again represented Topeka
in the solo/duo category in Memphis.
Finally JVB won the chance to compete in Memphis'
2013 IBC representing TBS and will be on Beale showcasing their all original
set. From slow blues to searing, in your face numbers, Vowell offers up a range
that'll get your feet tappin' and your behind dancin'.
With two great albums already to their credit, JVB has a new collection in the
works. Look for to their new album coming up in early 2013 as it promises to be
their best yet.
Although the guitar is currently my primary instrument, I
started playing piano when I was 7 years old and continued studying it until I
graduated from high school at age 18. At age 8, and still beginning on the
piano, I got a 3/4 size classical guitar for Christmas. My mom taught me my
first few chords, but at age 12 I got my first electric guitar and began to
take formal lessons.
I started to delve into the blues -- Albert King, Robert
Johnson, Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi, Bonnie Raitt, Jimi Hendrix, Jonny Lang,
Stevie Ray Vaughn, Santana, and John Lee Hooker, to name a few. I would hole up
in my room, throw on a CD, and play through with the whole album; mimicking
licks, chords, and inventing my own parts. When I was 14 years old my dad took
me to my first blues jam. It was a Saturday afternoon at Harlings Upstairs with
Mama Ray and The Rich VanSant band. I was terrified and had no idea how exactly
I was supposed to "jam," but from that point forward I was addicted
to the blues scene. I quickly became a regular at old blues staples like The
Grand Emporium and B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ. These years proved to be one of the
best learning experiences I've ever had. The result of playing with hundreds of
different musicians in various scenarios over time was that I learned how it
felt to play with people -- how it felt to be a musician.
The Rev. Jimmie
In the driveway was a 1958 Desoto, in the house a
twelve-year-old boy and a dad with a plan. "Will trade 1958 Desoto for electric
guitar and amplifier" was how the ad read in the Kansas City Star
newspaper. One call came and I went home with a beautiful white Gibson SG Jr.
and a Gibson amplifier. That's where it all started and I still have both the
guitar and amp to this day.
Years have passed since that day but the sound of that gift
my Dad gave me still rocks and you can hear it on my new album Secretly
Famous. I played that guitar on a couple of the songs and let me say
"it is a rock & roll monster."
Secretly Famous is my seventh album but I
really feel like it's my first. This album is different for me because I went
further back into my roots than on any of my other albums. Back to a time
before I became "The Rev." Back to that blues-rock root that I learned playing
that old guitar.
Secretly Famous was recorded at Bessie Blue
Studio in southern Tennessee.
The studio is in a 100-year-old house and is owned by the legendary
multi-Grammy award-winning producer Jim Gaines and his wife, blues artist Sandy
Carroll. The vibe at Bessie Blue is like going to Grandma's house, complete
with mauve curtains, pink flowered wallpaper and a huge Magnolia tree in the
front yard. As soon you walk in the door you feel like you belong; making it
easy to relax and get to work. Then add in producer Jim Gaines and look out -
Jim is the go-to guy if you want to record electric guitar. Known for his work
with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana, Steve Miller and a huge list of
others. Needless to say working with Jim was a dream come true.