Joe Fletcher and The Wrong Reasons Update: White Lighter Officially Funded!
As some of you may remember from my first blog post for ND, Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, a band out of Providence, RI, have spent the past few months attempting to get their new album out to the public. Faced with limited funds for the album’s finishing touches, the band recruited the help of family, friends, and fans through the online fundraising tool Kickstarter.com. I’m happy to report that they not only met, but exceeded their goal and White Lighter, the band’s second release, is in its final stages. The album will be available to the general public through CDBaby.com by December 14th.
As a backer of the White Lighter project, I received an advanced copy of the album via digital download last week. After many days of start to finish playbacks, I’m proud to say that I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt this pleased with how my money was spent, and it’s hard to imagine this album almost didn’t see the light of day.
From beginning to end White Lighter is everything a good country album should be. It’s escapist as a freight train leaving town. It’s women done you wrong and done you good. And it’s a gritty-as-sawdust-under-your-feet return to barroom style country. “Ambulances,” which is fast becoming one of my favorites on the album, is a fall from grace tale (Just yesterday I was the Queen of ballroom dance/Now it’s motor courts, heroin, and ambulances) set to train wailing harmonica and a thumping Cash rhythm. “Flat Tire” is a reeling, relationship weary narrative that showcases Fletcher’s unique “tell it like it is” storytelling. A clear standout track on the album is “Every Heartbroken Man.” Fletcher is joined on vocals by Lily Costner to tell a redemption seeking, Everyman tale of heartache (And he began to understand/That nobody gives damn/How can you stop to comfort every heartbroken man?). The song is underscored by an impeccable back and forth between the Wrong Reasons as a band. Fletcher’s Townes Van Zandt-like acoustic work is answered by haunting, electrified break downs and a solitary drum beat.
Rounding out White Lighter are the softer edges of the album. In contrast to the band’s debut release, 2007’s rock laced Bury Your Problems, many tracks on the album showcase Fletcher’s softer side which ranges from sympathy for missed connections and lost love to tongue-in-cheek playfulness. “Front Porch” is a stripped down, fiddle and cowbell tune that takes on an all too familiar subject for most of us: the packing up and breaking up end of a relationship. Fiddle and sweet melancholy also pervade the album’s opening track “Say What You Will,” while “Flower Garden” is a lighthearted, metaphor laden boogie.
Closing the album are two of White Lighter’s most single worthy tracks. “Drunk and Single,” written for Fletcher’s self proclaimed hero George Jones, is a woozy tribute to alcohol induced infidelity (When I’m drunk, I’m single/And there’s no two ways about it/You try talkin’ sense with me/But I’ve lived all my life without it). Lastly, “Too Many Doors” is a waltzing ballad destined for sing-along, live favorite status. “Doors” also features noteworthy guest appearances by many of Fletcher’s close peers in the local Providence scene such as Brown Bird’s MorganEve Swain and Deer Tick’s John McCauley.
Joe Fletcher proves his versatility on White Lighter. His signature brand of dark and lyrically driven honky tonk is interspersed with a softer side that would make a Hagg or Jones proud. In the words of Fletcher himself White Lighter is “less angry than Bury Your Problems, but not necessarily any more content,” and I wouldn’t want it any other way. If you’re like me and find yourself skipping over way too many songs in your iTunes library lately, awaiting the arrival of some new music in your life, White Lighter‘s release is right around the corner. Until then, enjoy these videos of some of the album’s best songs and you can thank me later. 🙂
P.S. The band will be hitting the road for a mini White Lighter tour next month! Go to http://www.facebook.com/joefletcherandthewrongreasons to find out if they’re coming to a town near you!