I think I was thirteen years old when I went on holiday with my parents, somewhere in the West Country, and being thirteen wandered off on my own just so as not to suffer the ignominy of being seen with the stuffy old folks. I was never much of a teenage rebel so within an hour I had met up with my Dad in a shopping centre, and was excited to tell him I had bought a couple of CDs for my new player with my hard earned paper round money. One was James Brown, one was John Lee Hooker.
Soul music I would explore more later so brother Brown was on the backburner as far as further exploration was concerned, but John Lee Hooker had the exact sound I was after without realising what it was called or knowing much about its history. I was looking for the Blues. That day a music nerd was born.
I set about following the various connections between the artists as many a shuffling vinyl hound has over the years. Who played with who, which were the essential artists. The education continues to this day but has broadened out to encompass a wider variety of genres.
Kirk Fletcher appeals directly to my early, blueshound self in a way that many guitarists have been unable to. Most players were rejected out of hand, too flashy, too fast, too many ‘clever’ notes. Yes, Kirk is occasionally flashy and fast and has more clever harmonic stuff in his playing than I can shake a pick at. He just seems to use it in a way that appeals to Steve the thirteen year old and Steve today. I’m not sure how he does that, but that’s why I find him more exciting than almost anyone else in the genre.
I play guitar now for a living but consider myself a guitar owning music nerd rather than a musician. I’m much more confident in my musical taste than my musicianship and here’s my advice. Go see him.
Steve Giddings (guitar, vocals – Bluesmakers, Well Travelled, Cuckoo’s Nest)