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Mentors who help me make music

As a mostly self-taught guitarist and vocalist, I’m often curious about the methods different musicians use to practice or refine their skills. For me, it’s a lot of listening to other singers in my vocal range and exploring how to emulate what they’re doing—in my own voice of course. YouTube videos are helpful not only for honing my voice but also for informing ways to approach the guitar. In videos, I like watching the fingers of musicians on the fretboard as I listen to the sounds they are playing.

Blues and rock guitarist, Samantha Fish, is one player I especially enjoy learning from. Her guitar solos and overall performance delivery absolutely burn it down!

Originally from Kansas City, Mo., since 2013 Fish has been on the road and playing more than 180 shows a year across North America, Europe and Australia. She started playing guitar when she was 15, and like me, mostly taught herself to play.

Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with Fish just before her performance in Houston, and she offered this insight:

“Repetition and discipline, sitting down with different records and picking out the leads from different guitar players focused what I played and how I listened. I try to make the guitar as expressive as I can as another voice—make it conversational and melodic. On the road now, I’ll toy with a lick each night refining it until it’s exactly what I want to execute. Time and repetition, not being afraid to experiment, these are key to solid guitar playing.”

Her words resonated, especially that part about experimentation and working on a lick over and over again. Sometimes, I have an idea sonically but not necessarily the chops yet to pull it off, so I experiment and begin slowly until I can build the foundation of what is it I’m trying to express. Over and over again, the basics. And then I push it further with flourishes or added notes. Repetition and discipline—that’s what it takes.

I’m nowhere near the guitar giant that Fish is, but it’s cool to know we have some things in common in how we practice and work through music.

Fish has seven albums under her belt with number eight due for release in May 2022. She’s calling it “Death Wish Blues,” and it’s collaboration with Austin, Tx., songwriter powerhouse, Jesse Dayton. The two have been friends and music colleagues for several years and teamed up last year to do an album together.

“It’s a record of mostly duets,” said Fish. “These duets are anything but sweet and tender. They’re straightforward rock tunes…high-energy blues and rock and roll and a lot of fun.”

That’s an album to look forward to, for sure. If you haven’t caught Samantha Fish live, you must. She is high intensity from start to finish, and her guitar playing will leave you breathless and wanting more—yassss!

Check her out in these smokin’ videos, and make plans to see her when she comes to your city.

Samantha Fish, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Joe Bonamassa onstage 2019 (Samantha’s solo starts at 2:35)



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