Fletcher’s Grove brings NYE disco ball jam to town
As the end of the year approaches, West Virginia’s Appalachian jam rock mavens Fletcher’s Grove have had yet another good year on the concert trail. As the band continues to build its fan base, their name has risen higher on the festival posters. But, a slight change in musical direction is coming for the group as 2019 clicks its heels.
The end of every year means a rowdy run of shows for Fletcher’s Grove in the Mountain State. It is a way to stay close to home and family while still celebrating the season.
With two shows taking place in Morgantown on Dec. 28 and 29, the band will then travel to Huntington for a big New Year’s Eve Disco Ball Blowout at the V Club on Dec. 31.
On New Year’s Eve night, Fletcher’s Grove and the Baltimore band Litz will each do their own sets, and then at the end of the evening will combine forces for a live disco music throwdown with a hand-made disco ball pinata hanging up above the dance floor and more.
The show begins at 10 p.m. and is an 18 years and older show. Tickets are $15 at the door. The V Club is located at 761 6th Ave. and more information can be found at vclublive.com.
Fletcher’s Grove had a good summer season of playing live music in 2018, and big things are in store for next year. The members of Fletcher’s Grove include Ryan Krofcheck on vocals and guitar, Wes Hager on guitar and flute, Matt Marion on percussion and vocals, John Ingrahm on bass and Tommy Bailey on drums.
“We had a great year,” said Ryan Krofcheck. “We are still coming down from putting on our own festival back in September, Groovin’ with the Grove. That went really well. It just about doubled in attendance from the previous year. We have got an amazing response about the festival with folks telling us they had a great time and how it is fun to watch us grow and to see the other bands on the bill grow as well. It happens every fall on 400 acres at King Knob Park in Philippi, West Virginia. This year, we got to do a big ‘Shade Grove Jam’ with guitar great Jon Stickley and some of the members of Cabinet and others. While it was a little nerve-wracking, if you know you are playing with good musicians, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I sent everyone a list of songs that we wanted to play in the jam, and we did one run through of the tunes and then went up there and rocked it. It was great.”
The members of Fletcher’s Grove are in the process of recording a new album and exploring a new sound. The goal is to steer their music to a more rootsier groove.
“The next album that we are recording is going to be a lot more acoustic,” said Krofcheck. “Since I have been playing with a side band called 18 Strings, I have taken up playing the mandolin. With Fletcher’s Grove’s new album, the recording will be more song-oriented than jam-oriented as compared to past projects. We have our original songs plus we have been playing around with the idea of recording some cuts by famous West Virginia artists like Billy Edd Wheeler and Hazel Dickens, or even music by the Putnam County Pickers.”
A cool, rowdy and underrated band from the 1970s and 1980s, the Putnam County Pickers played their brand of humorous and fun southern rock with roots music deeply embedded in the mix. Made up of Ahmed Solomon, Steve Hill, John Kessler and Ron Sowell, Sowell has been the leader of the Mountain Stage radio show house band for many years. The group is ripe for tribute in this new century, especially by a band like Fletcher’s Grove.
“I came across a couple of the Putnam County Pickers’ records at the Milton flea market,” said Krofcheck. “As soon as I put one of the records on my turntable, I was like, ‘This is like Fletcher’s Grove! Hold on, now.’ It is funny because some other friends of mine found some Putnam County Pickers albums at a Goodwill store in Morgantown and said the same thing. They did some really good songwriting and also played some extended jams on their recordings towards the end of the cuts. Living in Putnam County, I heard about them while growing up and our parents had friends that knew them and stuff, but I never really listened to them until I stumbled across their albums.”
As for this upcoming New Year’s Eve jam, Fletcher’s Grove has some value-added treats planned for the evening.
“Litz is from Maryland, and when you see a new and good band like them out on the festival scene and you decide to work together with them, you buddy up and try to help each other out as much as possible,” said Krofcheck. “On New Year’s Eve, one of our team members, Adam Payne, has been designing a giant disco ball pinata and we are going to fill it up with some fun stuff. We will do a full set and Litz will do a set as well. Then, we will do a collaborative set where we all play a bunch of disco tunes. This year we decided to step up our New Year’s Eve show with a balloon drop and the big 3-foot-wide disco ball pinata and cool jams to make the evening a fun spectacle.”