Fab's Music Café: An Interview with Kirk Fletcher

Fab's Music Café: An Interview with Kirk Fletcher

Kirk Fletcher has a reputation as a bonafide can’t-miss performer. His soulful playing and singing never fails to elicit chills, and his unique approach to Rhythm & Blues music is both refreshingly modern and completely authentic. Widely considered one of the best blues guitarists in the world, he has commanded the respect and acclaim of critics, peers and fans across the globe. He is a four-time Blues Music Award and a 2015 British Blues Award nominee and has played with a variety of popular artists, including Joe Bonamassa and a three-year role as lead guitarist of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. He released three studio albums and a live album. EARLY YEARS Kirk first picked up a guitar at age eight, playing alongside his older brother Walter in their father’s church. One day with his older brother, Kirk visited a small L.A. guitar shop, Music Works, which ultimately became his second home after meeting 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,” Kirk remembers. KIRK’S BLUES It was in the next few years that Kirk’s full introduction to traditional blues occurred. He started seeking out other musicians who shared this same understanding – enter Al Blake, lead singer and harp player for the Hollywood Fats Band. After hosting dinner every Sunday, Al would offer Kirk early 20th Century blues records as dessert. He also helped establish connections to other famous West Coast blues artists like Junior Watson and Richard “Lynwood Slim” Duran. So followed Kirk’s first gigs as a blues guitarist and eventually the recording of his first album I’m Here & I’m Gone for the JSP label out of England. Al Blake would also introduce Kirk to Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Wilson brought Fletcher further into the blues family from California to Texas and then out touring the world. One highlight during this time was at Antone’s Night Club 25th Anniversary Week in Austin, Texas, which gave Kirk the opportunity to perform with his blues heroes Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton and Hubert Sumlin. Wilson also tapped Kirk to play on his Grammy-nominated Smokin’ Joint live album. Shortly thereafter a call to collaborate came from blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, confirming that Kirk was becoming one of the most in-demand blues guitarists on the scene. HIS TURN So began three years on the road with the Thunderbirds. Kirk contributed to the Thunderbirds’ Paint It On album and time spent with many famous blues artists along the way, including a brief stint with the late Doyle Bramhall Sr. and a few guest appearances playing for Cindi Lauper, Michelle Branch and a world tour with Italian mega-star Eros Ramazzotti. Kirk more recently has been part of two projects with close friend Joe Bonamassa, Muddy Wolf at Redrocks and the Grammy nominated Live at the Greek Theatre.
Duration: 16:54

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60th Anniversary ’61 Les Paul SG with Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

NASHVILLE, TN (January 20, 2022) Gibson--the iconic American instrument brand--has partnered with Jake Kiszka--Guitarist of the GRAMMY-Winning rock group Greta Van Fleet--to honor the SG, a seminal guitar in the rock-n-roll revolution which celebrates its 61st anniversary this year. “My first electric guitar was an SG with P90s, and I haven’t gone back on it since,” says Jake Kiszka, of Greta Van Fleet. “The 61, this particular model, has defined me as a player and I think I’ve defined it in return. Moving forward with Greta Van Fleet and the SG allows me to be more dynamic and create sounds that are more outside the realm of conventional.” Kiszka has been drawn to the unique and modern design of the Gibson SG, since he was only three years-old. From the very beginning, Jake has been determined to unlock the SG’s mystery and has used the influential instrument to forge his own legacy in rock ‘n’ roll. Catch Jake and his SG in action on stage as Greta Van Fleet launch their Dreams in Gold 2022 arena tour on March 10. In 1961, big changes came to the Gibson Les Paul in the form of a sleek, all-new cutaway, all mahogany, modern body guitar design, named the SG. One of Gibson's most popular guitars to date, the SG’s devilish points and curves, blistering tone and fast-playing neck have made the SG, aka “Solid Guitar,” one of the most coveted and revered 1960s Gibson models. The SG has been the favorite of some of the most legendary guitarists ever, including Angus Young, George Harrison, and many more. Gibson’s then president, Ted McCarty, felt the market demanded new and innovative designs, and the now iconic SG shape became one of the greatest guitars of all time. From then to now, the new 60th Anniversary Gibson Custom Shop guitars replicate the first Les Paul SG Custom and Standard ever made, complete with the Sideways Vibrola, a side-pull action vibrato that is similar to those found on models from the early 1960s. In one of Gibson’s most faithful recreations yet, the Gibson Custom Shop 60th Anniversary ’61 Les Paul SG is a stunner from top to bottom, and in the hands of Jake Kiszka, it comes to life.
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