Winchester Fletcher, a country rock band from Nashville, is scheduled to play at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2 on the Jefferson School stage at the Marshall County Blueberry Festival. The band, whose sound Rice said is like a mix of AC/DC and Waylon Jennings, has been touring all over the nation, and will release their self-titled debut album in July.
“We always like to get back home,” said guitarist and singer Hall. “Playing for strangers is always good, but seeing family and friends is great.”
“I’m looking forward to getting back to the Blueberry Festival — I grew up going to the Blueberry Festival,” said Rice.
The band’s album release is bittersweet—it is dedicated to their mentor, Ronnie Scaife, award-winning country songwriter and father to band member Cody Scaife, who passed away in October 2010. Scaife died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage at his home in Tennessee.
“He was only 62 and could have whipped any of us,” said Hall.
Hall said that Scaife helped the band by offering wise advice on making music.
“(He said) ‘do it till you love it — if you don’t love it there’s no reason to do it,’” said Hall.
Rice said that his most interesting experience to date has been meeting Scaife.
“He impacted my life more than anything else,” said Rice. “Coming down here (to Nashville) I was kind of intimidated being around someone who sang with Tim McGraw (but) he broke everything down and explained the hard details about going on the road. He made sure to express all the aspects of this business.”
After some setbacks due to losing their mentor, Winchester Fletcher is now on the road again, and ready to sell some albums.
“We’re back into it, rollin’, doing it for Ronnie,” said Hall.
Hall and Rice grew up surrounded by music. They met as children and sang together in their parent’s gospel band, The Joint Heirs. Hall’s mother still teaches piano lessons in Argos, and Rice’s father is the pastor of Walnut Church of the Brethren in Argos.
Although Hall and Rice have previously played at the Blueberry Festival as part of their former band Deep Creek in 1997, this is the first year that Winchester Fletcher will entertain festival goers. The band has visited many different states on tour, including Mississippi, Arkansas, and of course Tennessee — but Hall says there is nothing like coming home. He already has a few activities in mind.
“We are definitely going to go down to Tippecanoe River, hang out with Mom and Dad, see family, and eat some blueberry doughnuts,” said Hall, laughing.
Winchester Fletcher is named after some of the band member’s childhood neighbors in different cities who happen to share the same surname of Fletcher.
“These are neighbors we grew up with, had a lot of fun on their property,” said Rice. “It’s nice to know you have good neighbors.”
The band will begin playing in the area July 1 at The Dandelion Bar in Plymouth. It will also have shows July 2, at the Marshall County Fairgrounds, July 15 at Club Omega in Plymouth, and July 16 at the Culver Lake Fest. The band will be selling CDs and T-shirts for $15 each.
More information and music previews can be found on Winchester Fletcher’s Facebook page and through their website, www.winchesterfletcher.com.
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