Joe Fletcher / Rocks Off Concert Cruise / New York, NY / July 30th

Joe Fletcher with Mavis Staples at the Newport Folk Festival. Photo by Libby Rose
Joe Fletcher with Mavis Staples at the Newport Folk Festival. Photo by Libby Rose
After seeing Joe Fletcher on the Rocks Off Concert Cruise, I never want to see a band unless it’s on a boat. Above the majestic Jewel, New Yorkers eager to escape the congested streets of Manhattan enjoyed a unique concert experience.

For three hours, four acts took turns rocking the East River with Americana’s rising Joe Fletcher stealing the spotlight. Perhaps the high he’s been riding since performing with Mavis Staples at Newport Folk Festival had something to do with it. Since he made the move from Rhode Island to Nashville, Fletcher has the advantage of being around exceptionally talented musicians, ones who challenge him and evoke his innate abilities. Texas-bred Andrew Combs, who performed with Fletcher in New York, is that type of musician. Together they don the modern outlaw to a T, gathering droplets of inspiration from the same wells Willie and Waylon found success in. Years later, Fletcher and Combs prove that the well has yet to run dry.

As the sun dipped below the Manhattan skyline, Fletcher pulled us into a mellifluous current that makes you remember why you love seeing live music. When you watch Fletcher perform on stage with his demure cowboy disposition, he achieves what every touring musician hopes to achieve: when power flows in that mysterious circuit from performer to fan and back again. Though cheers or applause is most desired, a crowd more interested in singing and dancing than Instagram-ing is even better.

It’s hard to imagine that just a couple years ago, Fletcher was teaching high school English up in Rhode Island. We’re glad that he’s now strumming that guitar for all of us instead.

– Melissa Caruso

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