Entries in Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons (7)


Joe Fletcher - "Oceanside Motel" - Newport RI

We met up with Mr. Joe Fletcher from Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons in Newport, RI for a Visible Voice session. He pulled out his guitar and with the first strum he broke a string... Fortunately Kingsley Flood was standing by to loan their guitar.

Joe Fletcher has a cool factor and general swagger that translates into every song he plays. Despite the windy conditions, Joe was kind enough to perform "Oceanside Motel" from his up and coming album "You've Got the Wrong Man". 

Like Joe Fletcher on Facebook and follow him on twitter for updates and tour dates!

Video // Words// Adam Richert

Photos // Joy Asico // Web Site  and Twitter


Nor'easter Fest 2011 recap

More photos from Nor'easter 2011

Words // Scott Pingeton

Over the past two years the Nor'easter Festival presented by Eastern Mountain Sports has become one of my must-see annual events, and the end-cap to summer music festival season in New England.  The festival, which was held at Burlington VT's Waterfront Park this year, caters to outdoor sports and music fanatics alike.  A mashup of rock climbing, cycling and music from Okkervil River, G. Love and Special Sauce, Rivery City Extension, Aunt Martha, Kingsley Flood and more, all set along the picturesque banks of Lake Champlaign - well, there really isn't a better way to spend a fall weekend.  I could only make it for the first half of the festival this year and as painful as it was to forego Okkervil River, Aunt Martha, Tan Vampires and The Toughcats - day 1 provided more than enough highlights to make it worth the drive.

I arrived early Saturday morning after a nearly 4-hour drive from Boston to hear Kingsley Flood soundchecking in the misty rain.  The band went on to play a trademark energetic set to a handful of early-birds - clearly un-phased by either the sparse crowd or grey drizzle.  The set featured favorites from Dust Windows as well as tracks off their upcoming EP set for December release.  River City Extension were up next, blending punk-spirit, mariachi horns and folk earnestness into folk-rock anthems.  On paper it may seem incongruous that the band played both the Warped Tour and Newport Folk in the past year - but after seeing them live it somehow all makes sense.  As I saw the lead singer of each band head-bobbing to the other I thought what a great double-bill Kingsley Flood and River City Extension would make...

As the sun finally broke through the clouds, Providence's Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons took the stage.  White Lighter was one of my favorite albums of last year, and it was great to hear the songs echoing across the Burlington waterfront.  Songs of gritty desperation, pain and loss aren't normally what you think of as lighthearted festival fare - but Fletcher & co. sounded great as mandolin and fiddle echoed down the Burlington waterfront.  It was somewhat surreal to see Kingsley Flood and Joe Fletcher - two of the local bands I would put my chips behind to break out of the New England scene - on a big festival stage.  Nevermind the fact that they were playing to a mostly-empty field, it seemed like just a preview of things to come.

Truth be told, those were the three bands I made the drive for.  Mariachi El Bronx surprised me though.  As the G. Love crowd slowly filled in, the punk-cum-Mariachi band was starting to heat things up.  I couldn't help but scratch my head as the very much non-Mexican lead singer (think younger Frank Black or Herc from The Wire) led the band through what sounded to these un-trained ears like note-perfect traditional Mariachi.  Kids were dancing, heads were bobbing - this was my surprise of the weekend.  Closing out the night was G. Love and Special Sauce.  I have to admit that I've never been a huge fan, but the band's most recent Avett-produced effort Fixin' To Die has piqued my interest.  Seeing him live I found a new appreciation for the R&B / funk-influenced sound.  Set opener "Milk & Sugar", an ode to the magical powers of coffee, is the kind of mantra I can get behind.

And while music was the draw for me, the main attraction is without question The North Face Open - a United Bouldering Championship event that draws hundreds of climbing enthusiasts.  For those that have no idea what "bouldering" is, it basically turns rock climbing into a competitive sport - as climbers must complete problems (as in, get to the top of a big-ass wall) as a five-minute clock ticks down.  Some of the nuances of the sport may be lost on me, but after two years at Nor'easter I have to call myself a fan - it's really a jawdropping, holy-shit-did-you-see-that?! display of athleticism and skill. 

But that brings me to my only complaint about Nor'easter: it has the potential to be a great music festival, if the music aspect of the festival was better-marketed.  The pieces are all in place, but last year and again this year, no one is there for the music.  If Kingsley Flood and River City Extension are playing to food vendors, and G. Love is playing a few hundred people - an opportunity is being missed.  Until then, this festival will remain a sort-of secret hidden gem, but either way I know I'll be returning year-after-year.


Preview: Nor'easter Festival 2011

Last year we made a last minute decision and headed up to Loon Mountain in Lincoln NH to check out the Nor'easter Festival.  With a lineup that included The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Gaslight Anthem, Alberta Cross, Eli Reed & The True Loves and more, I knew there would be great music - but the festival exceeded all of my expectations.  I'm sure festival organizers were hoping for a better turnout, but the small-ish crowds made for an intimate and relaxed experience.  World-class bouldering and cycle-cross events provided a great break from the music, and the gorgeous setting in the early-autumn White Mountains was perfect.  Our most popular post of 2010, a live recording of The Gaslight Anthem was recorded at the festival, along with another popular recording of The Walkmen.

This year the festival moves north to downtown Burlington VT, on September 23-25.  The location may be different, but the great music lineup and outdoor sporting events are back again.  The 1-2-3 punch of Kingsley Flood, River City Extension and Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons to open Saturday's festival is worth the price of the weekend pass on its own - not to mention headliners Okkervil River, G. Love & Special Sauce and rjd2, more solid undercards including Aunt Martha and Toughcats and a full lineup of bouldering/cycle-cross competitions.  Tickets are still available here.  Don't miss out one last chance to get out of town and experience live music outdoors this year.  Full lineup and mp3s below, along with photos + video from last year's festival:

Nor'easter Festival 2011 Waterfront Stage Lineup

Japhy Ryder
DJ Disco Phantom

G. Love & Special Sauce
Mariachi El Bronx
Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons - Say What You Will
River City Extension - South For The Winter
Kingsley Flood - I Don't Wanna Go Home

Tan Vampires
Apollo Run
Aunt Martha - Bloodshot
Okkervil River - Rider


Videos from Nor'easter 2010...

The Walkmen



The Gaslight Anthem


Photos from Nor'easter 2010...


Review: Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons - "White Lighter"

Providence's Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons released the excellent White Lighter in December of last year.  We previewed the album a couple months prior to that - but I feel like the release got a bit lost in the shuffle of a west coast trip, compiling year end lists and fighting through hoards of holiday shoppers.  While I may be a few months late, I feel like I need to go on record giving White Lighter its due.

My experience with White Lighter started sometime in the summer/fall of last year when, on a recommendation from my good friends at Kitchen Sessions, I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign to fund the album.  I hadn't heard a note, but their gushing told me all I needed to know to fork over my $10-15.  That was money very well-spent. 

The urban legend of the white lighter is well-documented - but the decision to name the album after a mythical curse might give you a hint as to the contents that lie within.  These are not happy songs.  They are songs of bad luck, bad decisions, hard living, harder drinking, desperation and loss.  And isn't that exactly what you expect out of a hard-edged, whiskey-soaked country album.

The album starts on a somewhat upbeat note with the folky "Say What You Will", but takes a sharp turn towards outlaw-country territory on "Ambulances".  Above a shuffling beat Joe Fletcher's perfectly-deep, gravelly voice growls "Just yesterday I was the queen of ballroom dance, now it's motor courts, heroin and ambulances" as a boxcar harmonica wails in the background.  Shit.  "Flat Tire" is the perfect song to soundtrack some Hollywood scene where the heartbroken lover roars down the desert highway, bottle in hand as he starts to wonder how it all went wrong.  "Every Heartbroken Man" is a slow-burner and (in my opinion) the absolute centerpiece of the album - a devestating story song that proves Fletcher's mettle as a songwriter, and the band's prowess.  One hopes that Joe Fletcher hasn't lived the life he describes in these songs - but they're delivered with such intensity, passion and weary resignation that you can't help but believe these are his stories.

The album certainly features the gritty influence of Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, but there are lighter moments to provide a necessary balance - the swinging "Drunk and Single (For George Jones)" provides witty levity - "Some talk funny and some can't walk and others fall down on the floor/But when the beers are cold my fidelity's the first to go".  Woozy singalong "Too Many Doors" closes the album with contributions from a Providence folk all-star team of John McCauley (Deer Tick), David Lamb and MorganEve Swain of Brown Bird.  It's a gorgeous song and an unexpectedly uplifting end to a masterful and rewarding album.

Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons - Say What You Will

BIG update!  Forgot to mention that you can get White Lighter FREE for a limited time here.

Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons have a bunch of local dates coming up, including THIS SATURDAY at the Middle East with Kingsley Flood and The Grownup Noise (CD Release):

3/26 - Cambridge, MA @ Middle East (Downstairs) w/ Kingsley Flood, Grownup Noise
3/29 - Providence, RI @ Firehouse 13 w/ Those Darlins (CD Release Party), Atlantic Thrills
4/1- Providence, RI @ The 201 TOM WAITS TRIBUTE/ Amos House Fundraiser
4/3- Providence, RI @ Club Hell w/ Eddie Spaghetti
4/9- Groton, CT @ Backstage Rose's Cantina w/ Get Haunted, Paul Brockett Roadshow

Fri 4/15 Providence, RI @ The 201*
Sat 4/16 Housatonic, MA @ The Brick House Pub*
Sun 4/17 Charleston, WV @ The Empty Glass*
Mon 4/18 Knoxville, TN @ The Preservation Pub*
Tue 4/19 (noon) Blue Plate Special on WDVX in Knoxville*
Wed 4/20 Nashville, TN @ fooBar*
Thu 4/21 Columbus, OH @ Rhumba Cafe*
Fri 4/22 Brooklyn, NY @ Pete's Candy Store*
Sat 4/23 Cambridge, MA @ The Plough & Stars*

* with Lydia Loveless

Video of "Say What You Will" from Kitchen Sessions:



The Low Anthem: Live at Lily Pads 1.8.11, preview new songs

Just a few short weeks away from releasing their highly-anticipated follow-up to 2008 breakthrough Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, and fresh off a tour with Emmylou Harris, The Low Anthem played an intimate show in the rural Rhode Island town of Peace Dale on Saturday night.  I was lucky enough to be there as the band gave a sneak peek at much of the upcoming Smart Flesh.

Lost on the back roads of Rhode Island, I thought I had made some kind of mistake -- this couldn't be where The Low Anthem was playing, could it?  Once I found the tiny church that would serve as venue for the night, I soon realized that it was going to be a special night.  Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons took the stage first, bringing an acoustic version of their outlaw country, rock and folk.  Joe Fletcher's booming voice filled the room and brought the crowd to their feet.  The band's recently-released album White Lighter has been in constant rotation for me (look for a full review soon) and the songs took on even more power in live form as Fletcher's lyrics jumped to life, complimented by mandolin, fiddle, percussion and upright bass.  Singalong set closer "Too Many Doors" featured The Low Anthem and forced the packed crowd to bring Fletcher and company out for an encore.  A brilliant set from a band you need to know.

After a brief intermission that gave attendees a chance to grab some homemade baked goods, cider and merch, The Low Anthem took the stage.  After starting with a couple of favorites off of OMGCD, "Ticket Taker" and "To The Ghosts Who Write History Books", the band began to showcase some of the new songs.  "Apothecary Love" and first single "Ghost Woman Blues" have been mainstays in the set for the better part of a year - the former a lilting song of love found over the drugstore counter, the latter showcasing the band's gorgeous four-part harmonies alongside a simply-strummed acoustic guitar and clarinet.  "I'll Take Out Your Ashes" a solemn meditation on loss that is probably as affecting of a song as I have ever heard.  

While I had become familiar with a few of the "new" songs over the past few months, for a number of the songs this was my first listen.  Whisper-soft "Burn" (I believe the only true "premiere" of the night) was gorgeous, featuring a simple melody accompanied by banjo and glockenspiel.  Ben Knox Miller described "Matter of Time" as "the laziest love song", but its beauty lie in the simplicity and honesty of the lyrics, a beautiful song.  As on OMGCD, there are a number of upbeat songs to balance the slower ballads -- "Hey, All You Hippies!" comes rambling "o'er the Hollywood hills" calling out entitled so-called-"hippies" and "Boeing 737" is a stomping rocker that rides a descending bassline. The centerpiece of the show and a stunning highlight from my perspective was the title-track from the upcoming album, "Smart Flesh" - a deeply personal rumination on the mortality we all share and a simply beautiful song.

It's clear that the band is gaining confidence as performers and reaching maturity as songwriters.  Ben Knox Miller has an incredible gift.  He writes songs that can make you smile and cry in the same moment; songs that are deeply personal yet universal.  In my eyes he is leading the pack in a new generation of songwriters.  The Low Anthem were already my favorite band, and they're only getting better.  Based solely on this sneak peek, Smart Flesh is going to be hard to top as my album of 2011. 

The full show is available for stream below - sound is generally excellent.  Thanks to The Low Anthem for their taper-friendly policies -- please support the band by preordering Smart Flesh here.

The Low Anthem
Lily Pads - Peace Dale, RI
January 8, 2011

Ticket Taker
To The Ghosts Who Write History Books
Apothecary Love
Hey, All You Hippies!
Ghost Woman Blues
I'll Take Out Your Ashes
Matter Of Time
Home I'll Never Be
Cigarettes and Whiskey
Smart Flesh
The God Damn House
Snake and Lightning Rod
Boeing 737
The Auld Triangle
Love and Altar
Charlie Darwin

Full set download:  mp3 zip

Keep an eye out for details about what sounds like it will be a special CD release show in Providence.  Other area dates:

March 4 - Boston MA, Old South Church
March 5 - N. Adams MA, Mass MoCa
March 7 - Portland ME, SPACE Gallery

Previous recordings from The Low Anthem:

Boston MA, Paradise Rock Club - 4.20.10
Portland ME, SPACE Gallery -4.23.10


Visible Voice Winter 2011 Mixtape

So, this is the first of what will be a quarterly thing on Visible Voice...the seasonal mixtape.  I plan to use these mixtapes as an opportunity to share some of my favorite new music.  Great tunes by local or not-so-local bands that you should know and, in many cases, tracks that have not been officially or widely released yet.  For this inaugural winter mix a cold, snowy Boston is my (our) backdrop and, fittingly for this time of year, many of the songs here evoke themes of reflection.  During the cold winter months I find that the music I listen to becomes increasingly spare, unadorned, raw.  These songs fit that mold; gritty and uncompromising, yet intensely beautiful.  I'm sharing this as two "sides" (think cassettes, vinyl), instead of individual mp3s, so that this might be listened to as a cohesive whole.  There will also be a limited number of physical copies available with individual tracks, please email if you'd like one.  

A huge thanks goes out to all of the bands that agreed to take part.  Please support them by buying their music and going to shows.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I have putting it together -- and please share!

Side A
1. You Are Not My Love - Wooden Dinosaur
2. I'll Be Fooled Again - Twain
3. Great Move North - Faces On Film
4. Wither on the Vine, pt. 2 - The Old Ceremony
5. Wolves of Winter - Lonesome Lake


Side B
1. Dancing On Your Tears - Hands and Knees
2. Long Time - Guards
3. Sweeties Babies - Push Pals
4. Say What You Will - Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons
5. Crooked Road Blues - Mount Peru




Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons - White Lighter

By:  Maria Cristina Romero

In their 2007 debut album, Bury Your Problems, Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons deliver rock ‘n’ roll riffs steeped in blues with a rockabilly twist. Telling tales of lone rangers, rebels, and lying lovers over straight-shooting rock arrangements, the Wrong Reasons is sure to evoke your inner cowboy. The band’s crisp guitar riffs and clean drum lines sound of another time, while the gravelly story telling of front man Joe Fletcher carries listeners from beginning to end.

Wrap your ears around this! Free download:  Who Makes The Knives?

In the Wrong Reasons’ forthcoming album, White Lighter, Fletcher pairs somewhat softer arrangements with poignant depictions of loves lost and despondent souls. You can preorder the album here.  Having already been compared to greats like Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, it’s no surprise that expectations of White Lighter are high—so high in fact, that Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons have raised over $5,600 to produce and press the album.

The Wrong Reasons played “Too Many Doors,” a track from White Lighter, in the Kitchen Sessions living room as part of Kitchen Sessions #7. They were lucky enough to have Morgan Eve Swain and David Lamb of Brown Bird (who are also featured in the album version) join for this very special performance.

If you like what you hear, do yourselves a favor: go see Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons live. They are playing at The 201 in Providence, RI TONIGHT with Banditas and Wooden Sky (a bill not to miss) and they play Great Scott in Allston on 11/9.