A real talent to watch
M. Bernocchi | Old Windsor, Berkshire United Kingdom | 02/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every now and when someone is able to emerge from the crowd of very good blues musicians out there and demonstrate that he has something special that distinguishes himself. I think that this is exactly the case of Kirk Fletcher. This album is a real gem that shouldn't be missed by any serious blues fan. With the help of veterans like Kim Wilson, Finis Tasby and Janiva Magness sharing vocal duties and the support of a fantastic band Mr. Fletcher delivers 17 strong blues songs that deserve to be listened. His guitar work is outstanding in every track and, even though very close to the style of the great players of the past, he brings something new into the mix. Fantastic tone control and fluid phrasing are, from my point of view, his main assets that together with is innovative way in creating music progression, make his sound fairly unique and very personal. Not a bad tune to be spotted, this is the classic CD that you would listen from start to finish and when it is over, well... you will play it again!"
The blues lives on
twangmon | Nashville, TN USA | 03/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In a world infatuated with hip hop, young African-American blues guitarists are a rare commodity. Rarer yet are those whose touch, tone, and vibe recall such Chicago blues greats as Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, and Otis Rush in their youth. Meet Kirk Fletcher: Still in his '20s, he plays with the conviction and authority of a seasoned vet, yet burns with a young man's fire. Fletcher favors toothy Strat tones, stinging bends, and flurries of tight, staccato riffs that seem to pop from his fretboard like little firecrackers. His touch is supple and his fingering fluid, yet his phrases never sound slick or contrived. Fletcher and his no-B.S. band cover blues classics by B.B. King, Willie Dixon, and Magic Sam; toss in some R&B (including Percy Mayfield's "The River's Invitation" and a funky take on Booker T. & the MG's "Hip Hug Her"); and cap things off with modern offerings from the likes of the Fabulous Thunderbirds' Kim Wilson. Fresh, vital blues."
Great Things In Store For This Guitarist!
Ruth Williams | Renton WA | 07/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very talented young man who has a great future ahead of him. It's hard to believe he's only in his twenties.
You can hear the influence of B.B. King in his playing and the liner notes confirm that B.B. was and is an inspiration. Make no mistake, this is no mere copycat. Kirk has learned from the masters - including Elmore James (check out "Worried Man Blues") - but he is definitely his own man.
The album is titled "Shades of Blue" and these shades range from songs written by Jimmy Dawkins, Jr. Wells and Magic Sam, to Percy Mayfield. However, These are not the usual covers. Someone certainly gave these choices some thought. There are also a couple of originals showing additional talent as a songwriter. On "Blues for Boo Boo" (his daughter - and I'd love to hear the story behind that nickname) we get a hint that he may also have some jazz in his repertoire. That hint shows up again in "Hip Hug Her".
The vocals are shared by Kim Wilson, along with his oh-so-fine harp, Janiva Magness and Finis Tasby and they give Kirk plenty of room to show his stuff. I particularly enjoyed the vocals of Finis Tasby whose voice and style seem to mesh especially well with Kirk's. I would have liked to have heard a couple more intrumentals. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, I highly recommend this CD and I hope there is more to come soon. Am I raving? Yes I am!
One last note to Riley: Your blues are in good hands!