Kirk Fletcher Interview;
Releasing New Album On
September 17, 2020
Kirk Fletcher is an extraordinary Blues man. He has played and toured with the likes of Kim Wilson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds as well as Joe Bonamassa.
On September 25, Kirk will be releasing his new studio album titled My Blues Pathway. The album features originals as well as covers from blues legends like Sonny Boy Williamson, Chris Cane and AC Reed.
We had the opportunity to talk with Kirk from his Switzerland home to discuss his new album.
Greg Drugan: Hey Kirk, how are you doing today?
Kirk Fletcher: I’m hanging in there!
GD: How have you been handling the quarantine?
KF: Well, I actually live in Switzerland. I’ve been living in Switzerland for the past three years. It’s funny, I actually am in quarantine because I visited California to see my daughter for her birthday. So I’m in quarantine for another couple of days! (laughs) Everything is good though.
GD: Wow, Switzerland! I don’t think they were hit very hard by this pandemic, were they?
KF: No they weren’t. But in Switzerland, they really, really, really follow orders. No means no! If you have to stay at home, you have to stay at home or you will get in trouble. They follow orders better, I guess is a good way to explain it.
GD: So, did you make your new record in Switzerland?
KF: I made it in my homeland of California. I made it with all of my buddies in LA during the Christmas holidays.
GD: I got the chance to listen to your new record My Blues Pathway, and I think it’s fantastic. Why did you decide to do some originals and some covers on this album?
KF: Thank you. I think the originals and covers is in the great tradition of classic blues artists. There’s this thing with classic blues artists like Muddy Waters and B.B. King, they would re-do some classic blues songs. I think it kinda shines a light and it keeps their names alive. Maybe even have a thing for more obscure blues artists as well as my original songs. I just wanted to combine that and I had that focus on this record.
GD: I think it works out very well. What’s your favorite song on the album? I really like “Ain’t No Cure For The Downhearted.”
KF: Oh, thank you so much. It’s really hard to say because I really like all of the songs. I liked the way they turned out. Some of the stuff kinda sounds spontaneous and I really proud of that. Some songs are a little more arranged. I would say some of the songs I like are “Love Is More Than A Word” because I love ballads. I like “Struggle For Grace” and “Ain’t No Cure For The Downhearted.” Yeah, I like all of them!
GD: I’m getting a Albert King vibe from this record, was he an influence to you?
KF: Oh, absolutely! And more than his guitar too. Albert King, the way his records sound on Stax records. His choice of tunes and his voice as well as his iconic guitar playing, the whole package. The blending soul influence with the blues. It’s funny that you brought that up because he was one of the inspirations along with Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Earl Hooker and people like that for this record.
GD: What’s your guitar of choice, a Gibson, a Strat or a Les Paul?
KF: Oh man! That’s like choosing your children. I’m a real fan of the guitar. I really like the construction of classic Fender. I love the Stratacaster, that’s probably home base. That’s what I learned to play on, so that’s my desert island guitar. But the Gibson ES 335…. I love those guitars. Most of my heroes played the Gibson ES 335 style guitar. Basically at the moment with all the pandemic and everything, I kinda settled on playing the PRS because they kinda combine the things I like about the Gibson and Fenders in one guitar.
GD: Very good. Mentioning Albert (King), have you ever played a Flying V?
KF: No, I’ve never played a Flying V. But I’ve definitely never been asked that question before! (laughs) I just haven’t gotten around to it.
GD: When did you know you wanted to be a blues guitarist?
KF: Oh, wow. I knew I wanted to be a blues guitarist when I was 13 or 14 years old. I just wanted to be a guitarist before that. I know that it was pretty early.
GD: What was your experience like touring with Kim Wilson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds?
KF: Man, that was like the first real like band, where you get to contribute like a real band member. It was really a lot of fun and I was kinda young. I was in my mid-twenties and it was really cool getting to tour with an established blues artist like Kim Wilson. I was a fan of the band and Jimmy Vaughan, It was fantastic!
GD: How did you hook up with Joe Bonamassa?
KF: I had met Joe Bonamassa, in the early 2000’s. We have mutual friends and I just walked up to him at a festival years ago and we just hit it off and we stayed in touch. We became fast friends and we had a lot in common.
GD: Did you do the entire 3 Kings Tour with Joe? I know that you are on the live record.
KF: Yeah, I did that whole tour and the Muddy Wolf project, the one before that one.
GD: This is kinda a small world, I actually saw the Three Kings Tour so I actually got to see you live. A buddy of mine got tickets and we didn’t know what to expect and our jaws hit the floor when you guys came out. We became instant fans and you made a big impression on me. You guys were incredible and I became an instant fan.
KF: That’s fantastic! I’m glad to hear that. That tour was a lot of fun. Like Joe would say, “I'm on vacation!” We called that the Vacation Tour.
GD: What was it like playing with Reese and Anton Fig on drums?
KF: Those guys became really dear friends, the whole band became my dear freinds after that tour. It was so great to play with Reese Wyans. I would walk on stage each night and be in amazement. This is a guy that I watched for my whole life, with Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was an honor. Anton Fig is somebody that I watched on TV ever since I was young. All of those guys are super sweethearts.
GD: Thats' great! Are you able to play some shows in Europe this year? It seems that they have done a better job with the virus than we have.
KF: I'm able to play a handful of shows and I'm just counting my blessings that I'm able to play those. They are doing a little better than the States right now.
GD: When things calm down here, do you plan on touring the States?
KF: There are no plans on the books right now, but definitely, definitely will be coming there as soon as I can. I want to come and promote the record and play for everybody and just see everybody!
GD: Kirk, I wish you nothing but success on your new album. I think blues fans are going to love it.
KF: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
GD: Take care and I hope to see you soon.
KF: Take care and be safe!
Check out Kirk Fletcher's new record, My Blues Pathway when it drops on September 25th. You can check out his new single "Ain't No Cure For The Down Hearted" below.