Blues guitarist plays straight from the heart
Kirk Fletcher is a four-time Blues Music Award winner, a 2015 British Blues Award nominee, and has released three acclaimed studio albums. He’s played with legendary artists – including Joe Bonamassa, with whom he collaborated on the Grammy-nominated Live at the Greek Theatre album – and spent three years as lead guitarist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds. And his playing has been hailed as “so soulful and straight-from-the-heart that it blows people’s minds”… There are a lot of people who are credited these days as great Blues guitar players, but Kirk is the real deal: not just a name, but one of the few who still carries the torch of the late Blues greats, like Freddie King, BB King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Albert Collins.
Blues is not about what you play, but how you play it: Blues virtuosity comes from the heart, not from the fingers and the brain. So whenever you have the chance to see a craftsman of Kirk’s caliber doing what they do best – regardless of whether you are a fan of the exact genre – you’re going to feel it. It’s pure energy.”
Kirk Fletcher’s playing – and singing – boasts this energy in spades. But in person, he’s delightfully laid-back, with a real warmth of personality and an enchantingly humble dedication to his craft. “The Blues,” he explains in his honey-soft southern tones, “is about connecting with people. It’s about connecting on that emotional level, moving people from the heart and maybe putting something on their mind that they can relate to.”
Having grown up with the genre – “it’s kind of my culture and heritage in a way; a natural progression. My family is from Arkansas; I have fond memories as a teenager listening to early rock and roll and I love old gospel music” – Kirk has been playing guitar from the age of eight, when he began performing with his older brother in his father’s church. Testament to his talent, Kirk’s career has undergone an epic rise since then but he’s never lost sight of the roots of his chosen genre…
“Blues feels like you’re stripping away all that excess stuff. It’s like gumbo in the south, or rice in Japan,” he adds with a gentle laugh. “You’re getting back to the absolute roots. I’m a person who loves simplicity to start with, and the Blues speaks to me on that heartfelt level – it’s true emotion. Maybe,” he suggests, “Blues needs to get back: back to the song, back to relating to people. There’s enough bad stuff going on; everyone has their own stuff, their own story, we’re all different… But just sharing those stories, talking, thinking about the human element: that’s what Blues draws from. It’s the story of your experiences, the original song. The Blues,” he concludes, “is a way we can relate to each other on a very human level…”