R&B and Blues Power Rocker Samantha Fish Returns to Charleston Tonight – Exclusive Interview

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By Mark A. Leon

The spirited sounds of R&B and Blues singer, songwriter and guitarist Samantha Fish are coming to the Charleston Pour House this Saturday.? Earning the #1 Blues Album the Billboard Blues Chart, putting out her sixth and seventh studio albums in 2017, and bringing a unique rock and roll style stage show to fans around the world, Samantha has only begun to see the potential of her talents.? Shortly after checking into her hotel somewhere in the rolling mountains of Western Virginia, I spend some time on the phone talking about her tour, roots and her civic responsibility as a visible and powerful female ambassador.

With the heart pounding rock style, reminiscent of legends Pat Benatar and Joan Jett and the deep soulful voice channeling the likes of Amy Winehouse, Samantha has been winning fans since she set out to pursue her musical dreams as a teenager.? Scoring a VMA, Number 1 Billboard Album and 8 albums, Samantha has been so busy, she may not even realize the success that is right in front of her.

From shy beginnings to an evolutionary change that has resulted in a retro look, short hair and vocals that can blow through a concert hall, this small-town Kansas City area girl has come a long way.? Now based in New Orleans, Samantha is fueling off the inspiration of a city with a long history of great musicians.

CD:? You first picked up first guitar when you were 15. ?Was there a defining moment when you knew?

SF: “I started on drums and then guitar, but I couldn’t sing.? My first ever time on stage was my defining moment.? I was so shy growing up.? I was a shy kid.? I could hardly talk, but loved music.? I was forced on stage at 17 and that changed me.? I changed my plans and at that point, I wanted to be a live performer.? Every record put out feels like a turning point and every album is a defining piece of my musical legacy.”

One of Samantha’s biggest breaks occurred when she landed on the Girls with Guitars Tour running dates through the United States and Europe.? This gave her exposure to much bigger and often sold out audiences and let her spread her wings and experiment with new sounds.? It also awakened her to the power of the audience and the fan base.

CD:? With a VMA, #1 Billboard Blues Album, 7 Studio Albums and 1 Live Album since 2011, are you where you want to be at this point?

SF: “You have to get out of your head a little bit and see the progress sometimes.? Being on the road, you don’t often have time to stop and see what is around you.? I need to slow down and see what I have accomplished.? I am blessed.? You get stuck in the day to day sometimes.”

CD:? Your clothing is an important part of your image:? Is it an extension of yourself or the sound?

SF: “I feel like having a whole package.? Everything needs to come together, the music, the style and the stage presence.? I always appreciated vintage style.? I didn’t know how to


dress when I was younger, so now, committing to something more iconic is important to me.? I make a statement with my music, so I should with my make-up and clothes as well.”

CD: Who is Samantha Fish beyond the stage presence and the guitar?? What is the personal side of you??

SF: “That is a complicated question. I am reserved in my personal life.? I have a few personal friends.? I am close with my family.? We are so active on tour so when we get off the road, I try to do remove myself, but being in New Orleans there is so much to do making that difficult.? Now I am working to put down roots and focus on what I want to say in my next album.? Music is my life.? I want to stay inspired.? Also, I like girl stuff like shopping and I have a cat.”

CD: What inspires your sound?

SF:? Traveling inspires me.? I spend a lot of time starring at the highway driving between shows.? When you are a traveling musician, you have a bubble you live in and that becomes your universe and that is inspiring as well.? I like to write about feelings a lot.”

CD: What is your pre-concert routine, if you have one?

SF: “Yeah, yeah, yeah definitely.? When I was a teen I started on drums and then guitar.? That is also when I started singing.? It wasn’t a natural thing for me and I took lessons for years and years.? I do these annoying abrasive vocal warmups before a show. ?It bothers everyone, but often, we have so little time before a show when we arrive at the venue, that the routine is short.”

CD: Nina Simone seems to a quite an influence on you, can you expand?

SF: “She is one of the deepest musical artists to come out of the United States.? She is deep.? Her lyrics, her fashion.? She is iconic.”

CD:? You speak so complimentary about your fans and I love that.? What do you want new fans that have never seen you live to take away from your shows?

SF” “When I was a teenager playing clubs, I remember how other artists and fans treated me.? They support me and stood by me.? Sometimes their dedication is more important than the music.? It is their kindness that keeps me going.? Music is a great connector.? We are all going through something in our lives.? If I can connect with people, then that is my job”

CD:? Have you always been an old soul?

SF: (Laughing) “Some say I am immature.? It depends how well you know me.? Growing up, I didn’t connect to people my age as much as I should have.? I grew up hanging with my dad’s drinking buddies.? Their stories were so much better and they played music and instruments too.? They were a big influence for me.”

CD:? What is Samantha Fish’s big dream?

SF: “When I started playing, I never imagined going this far.? Now that I am here, now that I got from A to B, the impossible is now possible.? You can’t settle for being content.? Once you are content you stop moving forward.? I still have that desire to go forward.”

SF: “I love rocking out” The core that got me into music in the first place is rock and roll and while I still have the energy to do it, I am going to.? I see the new album being tougher.? I will know more when I get to the studio and start playing.? I am with a newer and bigger band.? With a bigger band, it is more challenging than the trio I played with in the past.? In this new band, we are mixing horn and fiddle and this was a newer concept.? They are two spectrum instruments.? The first album in 2017 was R&B and the second Americana, so we needed to figure a way to make this all happen together.? Making the sounds fit was fun for us.? That is part of the reason I moved to New Orleans because of the wealth of musical talent.”

CD:? Being a powerful leading female vocalist in this current social climate, do you feel you have an obligation to your fans and the music industry to represent empowerment?

SF:? I have gone through phases in my life as I began to play music.? When I started, I didn’t want people to see me just as a woman.? A female playing guitar was like a gimmick or novelty.? It happens to women in all kinds of industries.? I wanted it to be about the music.? In the last couple of years, with all that is changed socially and politically, I have felt the sting in the industry.

I feel a responsibility to the female fans who are rocking out in front of us when we play.”

Music truly is the soundtrack of our lives.? It lends poetry to the moments that define us and adds drama to those who need it in their lives. If not already, Samantha Fish should be a part of your personal soundtrack. So, do yourself a favor and make it out to the Pour House tonight and let her music surround you and lead you to where you need to be, even if only for a couple of hours.

Samantha Fish Ticket Information and Purchase – Charleston Pour House (Saturday, May 12, 2018)

John Oates Shares His Secrets for Longevity and Success Ahead of Upcoming Charleston Show

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Daryl Hall and John Oates May 29, 2017 Hoagie Nation Festival Philadelphia, PA ?Stuart M Berg Daryl Hall - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals John Oates - Guitars, Vocals Charels DeChant - Saxophone, percussion, Keyboards, Vocals Eliot Lewis - Keyboards, Vocals Klyde Jones - Bass, Vocals Shane Theriot - Guitars, Vocals Porter Carroll Jr - Percussion, Vocals Brian Dunne - Drums

By Mary Kiser and Mark A. Leon

On Saturday, September 30, one of the most successful pop rock duos in music history, Daryl Hall and John Oates will be bringing their legendary songbook to the North Charleston Coliseum.? When you think about pairings of rock royalty, a few names consistently come to mind. Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Townshend and Daltrey and Hall and Oates.? From the #1 1977 Billboard smash ‘Rich Girl’ to the millennial re-boot of ‘You Make My Dreams’ featured in the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer, the music of Daryl Hall and John Oates continues to be featured on song lists around the world. ?Their staying power is legendary and their sound timeless including fifteen top ten Billboard hits (six number #1 singles) and an estimated 40 million albums sold.

Both men have brought a unique creative spirit to the duo and that has continued as both have pursued solo efforts.

While Daryl settled in Millerton, New York, John moved to Nashville about fifteen years ago to launch solo projects including a new collaboration album project entitled ‘Arkansas’ and the recent release of his memoirs ‘Change of Seasons’ recalling stories of the 1970’s and 80’s from his partnership with John to their groundbreaking success.

We spent a few minutes talking to John about his book, current project and upcoming visit to Charleston.

John just completed recording the studio tracks for ‘Arkansas’ a personal project focused on a collaboration of the early years of popular American music from the 1920’s and 1930’s including Delta Blues, Ragtime and Swing in Nashville.? With a great band, he will be touring this concept album of personal discovery with a 2018 album release and tour.? John explains that his move to Nashville and his solo career have been a personal re-birth and one that has fueled a new level creativity.

In its purest essence, a musician is a storyteller, relying on lyrics, harmony and rhythm to draw human emotion and share a personal experience.? This is the basis of the many stories John shares in his new book ‘Change of Seasons’ and for choosing to develop an album focused on Americana and the human spirit.

Inspiration behind lyrics

Almost every song has a basis of reality, but not every song is what it seems, as John explained.? He spent time really helping us and the fans understand that not every song’s lyrics are as simple as they seem.? Throughout the memoirs, John gets into detail on the events that led to many of the songs we all know and love.? Here is a little snap shot of some of his cherished stories:

Picture, 3:30 AM on a cold December night in New York City circa mid 1970’s and John is sitting in a soul food restaurant on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village and an attractive girl with a red tutu and cowboy boots walks in.? Two lonely souls in the West Village share a moment.? John’s asks her out for New Year’s and then gets stood up.? On New Year’s Day, John begins to pen lyrics.? Later joined by Daryl, the classic ‘She’s Gone’ is born.

How often do you meet that sexy, hot girl that just uses men and spits them out?? For most of us, that is the story of Maneater.? For John and Daryl, that was only the inspiration.? ‘Maneater’ is a metaphor for New York City.? In the 1970’s and 80’s New York City was wrought with government corruption, racial tensions, limited employment opportunities, the local economy in turmoil, rampant crime and subways cars were used as canvases for street artists.? Living in this time, was a force of inspired creativity for many artists, writers and musicians and for John and Darryl, this was no exception.

In the Chapter Road Trip (Page 203) of ‘Change of Seasons’, not only does he describe the pilgrimage to Los Angeles to work on a new album, but the vivid details of his storytelling put you in the backseat.? When they hit the Arizona border on Route 53, John wrote, “140 miles an hour through Indian Country!? Down the empty road I coaxed the revs up in fourth gear and shut down only to crest a rise blindly.? From there on it was 100/110 for 40 or 50 miles”? There was an essence of Jack Kerouac and the spirit of the road emulated in these recollections.

Staying grounded as a celebrity all these years

John was raised with good parents in a middle class setting with a solid sense of values and common sense.? This level headed upbringing, along with a strong foundation of friends and collaborators, has kept John focused on the important things.? There were moments, like all of us face, that try a man’s spirit.? On the cusp of losing millions due to poor management, John felt his world crashing, but looking back, he saw this event as the greatest moment of his life.

As John described, “It woke me up from my pop star coma”? It forced him to re-evaluate his life and principles.? It was then he sold his possessions and moved to Colorado where he met his future wife.? With a beautiful family, fans around the world, a creative renaissance of new music and ideas, John is clearly in the right state of mind.

During our talk, John explained that the book made him truly realize that so many unique things happened in his life that any one could have changed the course of history.? If he had chosen one of three other schools other than Temple, he may never have met Daryl.? If his first aired record in 1967 wasn’t on the same time as Daryl’s the idea of partnership may have never been planted.? If the financial worries never came to light, he would never have moved to Colorado and met his wife.

These are the stories shared throughout the book.? For fans of music, travel, free spirit, dreams and hope, there is so much to offer through John’s words.

Knowing how many devoted fans are in Charleston we asked John, “What are your thoughts about coming to Charleston, South Carolina?”

“We have an amazing band.? I love playing with Daryl after all these years. We still have a great relationship. I know Daryl has an affinity for Charleston.? He loves it there.? We have an incredible band and have been on tour since May.? The band is well oiled, we put on a pretty good show and I am excited for it.” explained John.

Spending time with John really helped us understand the man behind the guitar.? He is impassioned with a soul for music, a love for the creative process and a genuine appreciation for the fans.

In his own words, “Honestly, what I care about is my music.? I care about creating, I care about writing, I care about writing the next best song, working with an inspiring person, making another record, playing a great show in a place perhaps a place I have never been; these are the things that matter to me more than anything else.”

We want to thank John for his generous time and for John and Daryl for bringing their duo of magic to Charleston.

A few tickets are still available for Saturday’s (September 30th) show – Click here for ticket information

Order Change of Seasons by John Oates

*Article Header Photo Credit:? Stuart Berg

Hank Williams Jr. Exclusive Interview with Charleston Daily Ahead of Charleston Concert Stop in July

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Photo Credit: Webster PR

By Minta Pavliscsak

We all have that certain song or artist that takes us back to a special place or time as soon as the notes start to play. For me, one of my clearest musical memories is listening to Hank Williams Jr. with my daddy when I was a little girl. My father was my world, and I lost him this past October after a short battle with Leukemia.

Yet, over the last several months, memories have continued to flood my mind of riding the four-wheeler together, hunting for arrowheads around the lake, and learning how to drive a five speed. And then there is one of my favorite musical memories, tied to Hank’s 1982 Greatest Hits album. Always a daddy’s girl, we would dance together, me standing on his feet, spinning around in our living room while that album blared from the speakers in our house out in the Georgia countryside. That very same album has accompanied me on road trips, sitting around campfires, and is still with me today.

To be able to interview the man responsible for so many of my fondest memories with my father was truly an honor. From a musical position it is inspiring. From a journalistic position it is a great achievement. And from a personal experience, beyond rewarding. The same Southern values of family and tradition that I grew up with can be found at the heart of Hank’s music.

Never a stranger to music, Hank Williams Jr. started his singing career at the age of eight, singing his daddy’s songs. He performed at the Grand Ole Opry at age eleven. The country, blues, and a little bit of rock-n-roll sound we know today emerged with his?1976 release of Hank Williams, Jr. and Friends album.

As a 2007 Inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Emmy Award Winner, Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year, and recipient of CMT’s Johnny Cash Visionary Award, Hank Williams Jr. has been honored by his peers and fans and continues to be an unstoppable force.? We are thrilled that he has included Charleston as one of the stops on his current tour, scheduled to roll into the Volvo Car Stadium on July 22nd.

Photo Credit: Webster PR

This is my candid conversation with Hank Williams Jr. His words, like his music, speak for themselves.

CD:?“Country music has evolved so much over the past decade, and there has been so much crossover genera in music. Which artist(s) do you feel is pushing country music to new beginnings? Who are you
listening to these days?”

HW JR.: “Well, I don’t listen to much radio unless I am in the truck.? I really like Eric Church, Justin Moore, Jason Aldean, and Chris Janson.? All of them have done shows with me and I think they are doing some great things.”

CD: “You have meet so many “greats” in your life, and so many from an early age. Who were you most nervous to meet? (Do you still get nervous when meeting people?)”
HW Jr.: “Remember, when mother put me out on the stage at 8 years old, I really didn’t know anything else but to perform.? We had everyone from Fats Domino to Carl Perkins to Earl Scruggs to Little Richard over at mother’s house.? I never really looked at them as anything but people, so to me they just taught me how to play instruments.? So, I guess I really don’t get nervous around people like that, since I have known nothing else.”

CD: “With a musical career that started at eight years old and has encompassed sold out shows, multiple #1 hits, 6 platinum albums, a shelf of Emmys -and a Grammy-, many, many country music awards, and not to mention overcoming the hardships of everyday life, what is the one particular moment in your life that you are most proud of?”
HW Jr.: “I really appreciate all of the awards, but the biggest thrill is seeing that little boy or girl when they catch their first fish or get their first deer after I take them on the first fishing or hunting trip.? I really enjoy those moments more than anything.”

CD: “You performed in the shadow of your father for so many years of your career. When you made the transformation into THE Hank Williams Jr. it was a risky one, and one that came with mixed emotion from your fans at the time, some of which you lost. What would you say is the key to being able to let go and going your own way?”
HW Jr.: “You know when I first hit the stage everyone wanted me to do daddy’s songs and when I tried to do other songs people really didn’t want to hear them.? It was after the accident that I decided that I just needed to do what I wanted to do and really not overthink what people thought as they either needed to accept me for me or just not listen to what records I was making.? In the mid 80’s it seemed that people started to really pay attention and I have never looked back!”

CD: “We all have our top five all-time favorite Hank Williams, Jr. songs. What are your top five all-time favorite Hank Williams Jr. songs?”
HW Jr.: “Whichever one I am performing last at the shows!? Not really, but I really can’t say what is my favorite.? When you write as many songs as I have and have been fortunate enough to have some of them become hits naturally people think those are your favorites, but really there are some album cuts that meant more to me than just the hits.? Songs are also like your children, each songs has its own special meaning or story behind it.? So I really can’t pick one over the other.”

CD: “Aside from your musical interest, what do you enjoy doing on your down time?”
HW JR.: “You can catch me in a deer stand or out on the lake fishing.? I am fortunate that I have the most loyal hardcore fans, so I only do about 25 shows a year.? The rest of the year, I am in the woods somewhere.”

CD: “What’s next?for you? Is there a new album in the works?”
HW Jr.: “Not working on any new albums, but got some news coming soon that I think lots of my ‘rowdy friends’ will be excited about.? Stay tuned on Monday night!”

CD: “Sure, we all go through our ups and downs, but you have overcome the kinds of obstacles that most of us could not even imagine one of them happening in a lifetime. For our final question, could you leave us some words of wisdom from the great Hank Williams Jr.?”
HW Jr.: “Be who you are. Don’t be someone or something that others want you to be!”

In 2008, my daddy gave me a snowflake necklace for Christmas. It was to remind me of how unique I am and how being so makes me amazing. “Be who you are.” I can’t think of any better closing words.

Hank Williams Jr. is a humble man who enjoys the simpler things in life: Family, friends, traditions, and maybe some Monday night football is all anyone really needs to survive.

Photo Credit: Webster PR


Sister Hazel Returns to the Lowountry: Our Interview with Founding Member Andrew Copeland

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Photo Courtesy: Kaylor Girl Promotions

By Mark A. Leon

There is a very human side of music built on the relationship between musician and fan. When the symmetry of musical appreciation, art, emotion and genuine admiration come together you have the 23-year career of one of the most respected Southern bands of the modern musical genre, Sister Hazel. From the most recognizable song nationally with “All for You” to pioneering annual rock cruises, Sister Hazel continues to reinvent themselves with the sole purpose of giving back to the fans.

This weekend, The Windjammer will be hosting Sister Hazel as they perform three shows and a series of special VIP events for the loyal Hazelnuts and Lowcountry fans performing songs from an over two-decade musical library.

Sister Hazel holds a very close personal relationship with Charleston. Playing gigs at the Music Farm and The Windjammer early in their career and harnessing brotherly relationships with Darius and the Hootie boys, NeedtoBreathe and Edwin McCain, Drew describes the Lowcountry as a second home. “Bobby Ross has always been very kind to us.” (The Windjammer). We have known Hootie from back in the early 90’s. We all came up in the same circles. Those guys are like brothers. We have stayed close for 20 plus years. There was never any competition between us. The memories we have built coming through Charleston and the way the fans in the Carolinas treat us has made this a second home for us. It is very familiar to us. We are treated like family.”

I had a chance to sit down with founding member Andrew “Drew” Copeland about their career, importance of the fans and their upcoming weekend in Charleston.

CD: 23 Years Together: What have you learned from one another about life, music, family and fan loyalty?

AC: I’ll tell ya. The lessons from being in a band with four other guys for this long and the tools you gain are immeasurable. There is no hierarchy. We all respect each other. We all have an equal say. Over time, we have had the ability to prioritize things and determine what is important in life. If someone is passionate about something, we take it seriously. This has affected how we make business and life decisions over the 23 years together. No one can appreciate all you have been through more than the four guys you have spent so many years with. We have had a crazy life. In fact, Ken and I have been performing together for 26 years now. We have been co-dependent on each other. There is no closer definition of brotherhood.

CD: Dr. Hazel K. Williams, the woman behind your namesake passed away last year at age 91. What did she mean to you all you.

Photo Courtesy: Kaylor Girl Promotions

AC: She was a female minister who dedicated her life to the ministries that reached out to the less fortunate. She reached out to all that needed help regardless of race, religion or background. Ken spoke at her funeral and over the years we always donated money to her causes. She was special and selfless.

When the band formed, we were looking for a name. Ken felt Hazel represented acceptance of all and that is what he wanted the music to be. Ken wanted to create songs that all music fans could relate to and appreciate and she was the embodiment of that.

When she returned from missionary work in Belize and Haiti, she saw our name on billboards in Gainesville and reached out to us. After speaking to us, she said, if you accept all and don’t speak ill of anyone, I am happy to let you use my name for the band. To this day, it has stuck.

CD: Tell me more about the Rock Cruises from concept to reality and what do you want the fans to take away from the experience?

AC: Way back, about 18 years ago, we wanted to find a way to thank our fans for being so supportive. We wanted to give them special shows and spent time with them and what better way than a cruise with live music and interaction. In our first year, we reserved only 200 cabins, not even the whole boat. It went so well, we chartered the entire ship the next year. For the first few years, I was even writing checks after we docked to cover some of the costs. Our former manager, Andrew Levine spearheaded these cruises and since then, Sixth Man Productions, led by Andrew has coordinated similar cruises for Zach Brown, Kid Rock and Kiss.

Over the years, we have played with Collective Soul, Gavin Rossdale, Tonic and NeedtoBreathe to name just a few. In a way, we pioneered a genre of music and fan appreciation.

CD: I understand you perform barefoot. Is that a lifestyle choice or just a little bit about your attitude about life?

AC:? I think it is both. I grew up in Florida. I was one of many kids that loved walking around barefoot. When Ken and I started out playing together we played beach clubs and patio bars. We would show up in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. We kicked off our flip flops and played. When the band started to take off with more success, I just kept doing it. It felt good and it was a bit of a superstition.

CD: How was it superstitious?

AC: In 1993 we formed the band, in 1996, we signed with our first major label and then after that, I felt like things couldn’t change.

CD: Hazelnuts: Tell me more about the origins of this following? (For those that do not know, the Hazelnuts are the true, unconditional, devoted fan base of Sister Hazel. Much like the “Parrotheads” and “Deadheads”, these fans are dedicated to the love of the music and the band)

AC: They are self-dubbed fans. Super loyal fans. They have come together for the love of music. They are passionate about the band and all music. For that we are indebted. These fans love music and everything about it.

CD: I have some personal favorites including “Champagne High” and “Right One for Me”. What are Andrew’s top 5 Sister Hazel songs?

AC: Those can vary from night to night depending on the mood, but I will always be thankful for “All for You.” I have nothing but love for the song and all that it has given us over the years. It is still such an important part of who we are and what we have become.

CD: Being born and bred in the area that gave us Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, what has contributed to your longevity and the relationship you have built with your fans?

AC:? I think it is that we are appreciative. We don’t feel entitled. We have been surrounded by good people in our lives that has kept us grounded. We take a lot of pride in the accessibility of our fans being able to connect to us and the music.

CD: Has the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame crossed your minds now that you are 2 years away from eligibility?

AC:? No, we haven’t thought about it, but that would be the most incredible thing to ever happen to us. That is mind numbing to even think about. I have never considered it as an option for us, but it would be remarkable if it did.

What started as two guys playing guitar and singing a few riffs of The Eagles during a 1991 tailgate party before a Florida Tennessee Football game have become a 26-year journey filled with heart, dedication and musical poetry. Exposing the vulnerability of relationships and love and celebrating life has been the cornerstone of a career that is showing no signs of slowing down.

“And for the million hours that we were
Well I’ll smile and remember it all
Then I’ll turn and go
While your story’s completed mine is a long way from done.”Champagne High

We look forward to the next million hours together.

As you watch Ken, Andrew, Ryan, Jett and Mark perform some of their classic hits and new songs, you will see a level of brotherhood you rarely find in life and that bond has extended to fans around the world.

Welcome back to Charleston.

Sister Hazel – The Windjammer Ticket Information

Photo Courtesy: Kaylor Girl Promotions