Joe Fletcher was somewhere south of Lancaster, Pa. Tuesday, behind the wheel of a truck packed with the last remnants of his former life here in Warren.
Fletcher, the guitar player, lead singer and songwriter behind Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, handed in the keys to his Baker Street apartment Monday, and is working his way south toward Nashville, where he is moving full time. Along with Brown Bird, Mr. Fletcher was one of the bigger acts to come out of the thriving Warren music scene over the past few years. But he decided some time ago to move to Nashville, where many of his friends and collaborators live.
It’s a good strategic move, he said — plus, there’s not much winter to speak of.
“They’re all dreading the winter down here,” he said. “But I’m not too worried about it.”
Moving to Nashville wasn’t a tough call, though he loved his time in Warren and thinks it played a big part in his success and musical growth.
“I was on the road a lot, but it was just a wonderful place to come home to,” said Mr. Fletcher, who moved here two years ago after leaving his former job as a high school teacher to go full time to music.
“The community here was so supportive; I met a lot of good people. (Water Street artist) Will Schaff was kind of like my ambassador when I first got there. He showed me the ropes and hooked me up with a great network of people.”
He would have been happy to stay, but felt that a move to Nashville would challenge him and his music in a way that wouldn’t have been possible in the northeast.
“It’s just a little change of pace, and a different culture,” he said. “It’s going to push me to become a better guitar player and work a little harder; Nashville is a place where things don’t always come so easy.”
It does have a few other things going for it, too. Besides the music, the rent’s cheap, and he’s moving into a small house in a small neighborhood; it’s owned by a friend and collaborator, JP Harris.
Then there’s the weather. And the baseball. Fletcher is a big St. Louis Cardinals fan, and there are plenty of other Cards fans in the city.
He expects to arrive in Nashville in plenty of time for Wednesday night’s World Series Game 6 against the Boston Red Sox, and he’s excited for that.
“It’ll be the first game I’ll be able to see from the beginning,” he said. “I’ve had a show every night of the World Series so far.”
He’s already got a nice homey place to watch it, The Edgefield Sports Bar in East Nashville. Like The Coffee Depot, the Warren spot he loved to spend the mornings, Edgefield feels like home, and there are friendly faces there.
“I can’t wait.”
Note: Mr. Fletcher will be back in Rhode Island for New Year’s Eve; he’ll play a show at The Met on Dec. 31. Until then, he asked that we publish this parting note:
“Over two years in Warren I found an incredibly supportive family that roots for each other to succeed and helps to make it happen wherever it can. From the folks at The Coffee Depot and Jack’s Bar to Will Schaff and Jeff the Mailman, everyone seems to take the time to get to know each other on a deeper level. I think the best parts of what makes a solid community have been lost so many places, but the people of Warren seem determined to keep it alive and moving.”