Kirk Fletcher

Heartache by the Pound
Kirk Fletcher
Kirk Fletcher: Mitch Conrad.

Blues guitar master Kirk Fletcher returns with an album that mixes soul, R&B, blues, funk, and phenomenal guitar playing. Fletcher tricks the listener into thinking they’ll be hearing a pious ’60s soul record. Instead, it’s a heavy guitar album using American guitar styles as a backdrop to universal themes such as good love – and bad.

With most of the songs co-written by Robert Cray bassist Richard Cousins, Fletcher croons and plays the sweet stuff like on the swinging “Shine A Light On Love.” Then, he turns a corner and goes full Albert King on “Afraid To Die, Too Scared To Live” and “I’ve Made Nights By Myself.” Fletcher plays with feel for days as he takes King’s stinging single-note recipe and expands upon it with fiery genre-correct chops and restraint.

The title track is uplifting despite its somber lyrics. With an exceptional horn section, Fletcher absorbs the Muscle Shoals ambiance to produce an earthy track with grit and soulful six-string sophistication. On the swampy “Wrapped Up, Tangled Up in the Blues,” Fletcher displays top-notch production skills and inspired ES-345 playing. By the time the tasty country pickin’ on “Wildcat Tamer” begins, you’ll wonder if there’s anything Kirk Fletcher can’t play.

This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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