Kirk Fletcher’s family originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas moved to the LA suburb of Lakewood, California. His dad was a pastor and eventually sold the house in Lakewood to move to Compton in south LA, where he would build his church. At the age of eight, in his father’s church, Fletcher first picked up a guitar. One day Kirk and his older brother Walter Jr. visited Music Works, a small LA guitar shop, and befriended Jeff Rivera, Robben Ford’s guitar tech. “We started hanging out and I would help load gear, change strings and just be a fly on the wall to some of the most amazing music I’ve ever heard”.
Fletcher started seeking out other musicians and befriended Al Blake, harpist and vocalist from the Hollywood Fats Band. Fletcher was invited for dinner on Sunday nights at Blake’s house where he was exposed to early traditional blues. Through Blake he was introduced to Junior Watson and Lynwood Slim. In 1999 Fletcher recorded his debut album “I’m Here and I’m Gone” on the JSP imprint with guest vocalist Jackie Payne; the album was produced by Jimmy Morello.
Fletcher is one of the most complete guitarists on the scene today as he knows how to play rhythm behind a harpist or vocalist and make them sound better. In 2004 Fletcher released his second album “Shades of Blue” on Delta Groove Records. Around this time Blake introduced Fletcher to Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. One night at Antoine’s Fletcher met and played with his heroes Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton and Hubert Sumlin. Fletcher wound up playing on Wilson’s Grammy nominated live album “Smokin’ Joint”. He went on the road for three years with the Thunderbirds and can be heard playing on their 2005 “Painted On” album. Fletcher has been nominated four times as Best Instrumentalist – Guitar at The Blues Music Awards.
“Hold On” is Fletcher’s fifth album as a bandleader. It was recorded in the UK, this past January, utilizing the classic organ trio format. He is joined by keyboardist Jonny Henderson and drummer/percussionist Matt Brown. Fletcher states “I feel this is my first “real” solo record. I composed all of the songs with the help of friends on some tracks. The underlining message of my music is love. I wish that you will listen with your heart. The lyrics are simple and easy to understand. I am a big fan of old Blues and Country music, so I tried to take this concept of simple storytelling and use it as a platform to get my message across”.
“Two Steps Forward”, “and ten steps back, I’m feelin’ like my soul is under attack”. Background vocalist Mahalia Barnes joins Fletcher on the second verse before he takes his solo making good use of his wah-wah pedal. On the chorus they share the vocal.
“You Need Me” is a tune with a great groove and soulful vocal from Fletcher who again utilizes the wah-wah. “Sad, Sad Day” rocks out and features Henderson on piano.
“The Answer” is a slow blues featuring the lyric “well I wish I had the answer to turn my life around, I don’t blame you for leaving the love to be found…” Fletcher follows the verse with an evocative solo that builds in its intensity. “Time’s Ticking” is another song about unrequited love. “I do lie to myself when I said I don’t need you…I’m trying to find the feelings, the feelings I feel for you, I’m just trying to think things through…”
“Dupree” is a funky instrumental with Henderson on the organ. On the shuffle, “Gotta Right”, Fletcher sings “oh, I gotta right, I gotta right to sing the blues, have mercy on my soul like I was born too blue”; Fletcher’s solo is outstanding.
“Hold On”, is the gospel influenced title track, and a plea for global harmony “oh, that something must be love, love, love”. This time its vocalist Jade McCrea who helps to complete the production.
This new album from Fletcher showcases another side of this world class bluesman.