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Amanda Fish breaks "Free" on new album

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ALBUM REVIEW: Amanda Fish – Free (VizzTone) 2018

Blues-rocker and belter Amanda Fish caught my attention recently when I heard her new song “2020” played on the B.B. King’s Bluesville SiriusXM channel. I was amazed with how good it was and wanted to learn more about this blues singer who so caught my attention.

And yes, Kansas City's Amanda Fish (sister of blues guitarist Samantha Fish) is the real deal, rapidly rising in blues circles as a force to be reckoned with, as her new album, Free, attests to.

And it is “2020” that kicks this record off, while Fish warns listeners to "be careful what you wish for." A little buyer's remorse goes a long way as we inch ever closer to the year highlighted in this blistering blues rocker.

“Not Again” is propelled with some honking harmonica work from Richard Rosenblatt.

Fish’s vocal on “Anymore” is utterly convincing and hits you in the solar plexus, not surprisingly, as her voice is one the blues world will be hearing more of, guaranteed.

“The Ballad of Lonesome Cowboy Bill,” though, is the utter standout track on Free. With a 70’s, strummy country/classic-rock/blues groove (think “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band), and vocals from Fish that come from a place deep in her soul, the song builds as she sings of how a Kansas City community radio show, “Moby’s Trip,” hosted by Lonesome Cowboy Bill, exposed her to a new world of music, including the likes of Nick Cave and Tom Waits and a disc jockey who pushed the limits of what radio could achieve, particularly for listeners like Fish who essentially viewed the radio show as a formative “school” of sorts – one that changed her life.

And I can relate, growing up down the road in Wichita in the late 1980’s and hearing music on the local college station – music that influenced me and does to this very day.

“I got no guilt for my misbehavior,” sings Fish, making it clear apologies are not necessary in this world on the gritty "The Bored and Lonely," which has an intimate, one-take-band-in-the-studio feel, all under the watchful eye of jack-of-all-trades studio whiz Duane Trower, who really captured Fish's vocal/performance strengths. 

And reminding me a bit of Shemekia Copeland's recent recording, America's Child (Red Dirt Report's #1 choice for Album of 2018), Fish and her crack band end the 12-track album with the uplifting, gospel-infused title track. A nice ending, for sure.

Staying true to the usual blues format, many of the songs here feature real people just trying to get through life, the best way they can. And if it means some sacred cows are sacrificed along the way, so be it. 

For more information on Amanda Fish, go to

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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