Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton, Death Wish Blues Review
Daring Depths: A Journey into Death Wish Blues by Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton
by Constance Tucker
The collaborative project between Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton, Death Wish Blues, is not just a meeting of minds—it’s a confluence of souls. The blues is all about heartache, resilience, and the rawness of life, and this record dives deep into those themes, unafraid to get its hands dirty.
Fish, known for her fiery guitar skills and deeply emotive vocals, and Dayton, a maverick in his own right with a reputation for fearless genre-blending, share a mutual respect and admiration that spans over a decade. The connection they’ve built is palpable in the music they’ve created here. Each note, each word, seems to hold a deeper meaning, as if there’s a silent conversation going on beneath the music. The blues is their common language, and they are fluent.
The involvement of Jon Spencer can’t be understated. A renegade who has consistently pushed the boundaries of blues, his touch on this record is like adding a little spice to an already rich stew. His innovative style is the extra layer of grit that gives the record its unique flavor.
The introductory track “Deathwish” carries considerable weight in its name and delivery. It’s here we first taste the magic that Fish and Dayton bring to the table. Samantha’s voice is an explosive concoction of grit and honey, defiant yet full of anguish. Her tone, full-bodied and resonant, pierces the listener’s heart, taking us on a journey through the dark alleys of life. The way she emphasizes specific phrases—accentuating the macabre in a way that’s undeniably blues—speaks to her artistry.
Next, we dive into the muck with “Down in the Mud,” a deliciously dirty blend of blues and rock. Jesse takes the lead on this one, but in some sections, Samantha’s and Jesse’s vocals dance around each other in perfect harmony, their tones bouncing off each other like two roughened stones in a tumbler. As for Jesse’s vocals, his diction is gritty, and he drives home the lyrics’ raw honesty, making it a blues anthem for the ages.
The track “Riders” presents a fascinating duel between the voices of Samantha and Jesse. The back-and-forth volleying of their vocals creates a vivid narrative, a testament to their understanding and mutual respect. What’s most remarkable here is the dynamic control in their voices—they know when to push, when to pull, and when to let the silence speak. It’s as if they’re living “where focus goes, energy flows,” channeling their energy into each other’s voices to create a vibrant, soulful duet.
As for the song’s interpretation, it’s a classic example of the blues tradition of embedding deeper meanings within lyrics. The notion of life as a tumultuous journey or the metaphorical ride through the waves of the blues genre, or even the power of music as a vessel to overcome life’s obstacles—it’s all up for the listener’s interpretation. That’s the beauty of blues; its essence lies in shared feelings and individual understandings.
In conclusion, the album Death Wish Blues lives up to its initial promise—a daring exploration of the blues, a testament to Samantha Fish’s and Jesse Dayton’s vocal creativity and skill. It’s an album that commands attention and begs for repeated listening.