Preview: Women Who Rock The Blues at The State Room

The State Room Presents hit the trifecta when they booked three amazing women who rock the blues. Over the next few weeks we’ll have a chance to see some of the best the genre has to offer in intimate settings.  

When we hear the term “blues” we often think about the men who pioneered the genre–be it Robert Johnson, Son House, Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters. Women, however, have been singing the blues since the emergence of the musical style. Ma Rainey, the Mother of The Blues and Bessie Smith, the Empress of The Blues, were the first superstar blues musicians in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Sister Rosetta Tharpe electrified gospel and blues. Two decades later, artists like Elvis Presely and Chuck Berry copied Tharpe’s influential style and turned it into rock‘n’roll. Women pioneered the blues, often without the acknowledgment they deserve. They are still carrying the torch.

Ally Venable

Ally Venable

Twenty-four year-old, East Texas guitar slinger, Ally Venable, just released her 5th full-length studio album Real Gone (yes, 5th album–she started recording as a teenage prodigy). Blues legends are lining up to play with this rising star. On “Texas Louisiana” Venable teams up with Buddy Guy for a fresh, new duet that feels like an old classic. On “Broken and Blue,” a great slow-burning blues number, she trades guitar licks with Joe Bonamassa. Real Gone charts Venable’s progression as a songwriter (her guitar chops are already well-established) and builds off her excellent 2021 release Heart of Fire. Venable is a legitimate tour-de-force in modern blues and to see her in the intimate confines of The State Room on Friday, August 18, 2023 is a “don’t miss” opportunity for me. I might not get another chance to see her in a small listening room before she launches to larger venues.

Danielle Nicole

Danielle Nicole

Danielle Nicole (born Danielle Nicole Schnebelen) emerged from the Kansas City blues music scene as lead vocalist and bassist in her family band, Trampled Under Foot. In 2014, the band’s album Badlands won the Blues Music Awards Contemporary Blues Album of the Year.  She also became the first woman to win the Blues Music Award in the category of Instrumentalist–Bass. Since, she’s won the award three more times. The following year Nicole released her debut solo album Wolf Den which reached #2 in the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart. The singles “Take It All” and “You Only Need Me When You’re Down” exemplify the soulful nature of Nicole’s powerhouse voice. Her bass-line tracks put the rhythm in her blues. 

Her critically-acclaimed 2018 release Cry No More hit #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Album chart and earned her a Grammy nomination. The album highlights Nicole’s commanding blues, rock and soul vocals paralleling artists like Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi. Her single “Save Me” featured Kenny Wayne Shepherd on guitar. 

To hear Danielle Nicole and her band on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 in a space with the sound quality of The State Room is too good to pass up. 

Samantha Fish

With the style of Marilyn Monroe and the guitar prowess of Stevie Ray Vaughan comes Samantha Fish, the Kansas City guitar shredder who now calls New Orleans home. Fish is a mesmerizing presence on stage and a powerful force in blues music today. With a string of albums hitting #1 on the Billboard Blues charts, Fish has built an impressive catalog of great rockin’ blues numbers like “Faster” and “Kill or Be Kind.” Nobody can draw you in quite like Fish, especially when she tackles the blues classics like “I Put A Spell On You.” When she pulls out her cigar box guitar things really start smoking. Check out this video of “Bulletproof.

Her latest album Death Wish Blues, recorded with Austin-based country rocker Jesse Dayton, pushes the limits of blues music. She lures you in with inflections of funk, punk, rockabilly, and country, before driving the blues dagger into your soul with songs like “Death Wish” and “Rippin’ and Runnin’.

Fish is best experienced live. You won’t be able to look away even as her explosive guitar riffs melt your face. Her upcoming show at The Commonwealth Room on Thursday, September 28, 2023 is sure to sell out. Don’t wait too long to buy tickets. 

Who: Ally Venable, Danielle Nicole, Samantha Fish

What: Women Who Rock The Blues

Where: The State Room (Venable, Nicole), The Commonwealth Roon (Fish)

When: August 18, 2023 (Venable), September 6, 2023 (Nicole), September 28, 2023 (Fish)

Tickets and info:

John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

Similar Articles