Since PopMatters premiered their eponymous debut EP in 2017, Bendigo Fletcher have garnered national acclaim. Still ones for developing captivating, melodious folk-rock with tinges of psychedelia, the Louisville quintet is set to release their next EP, Memory Fever, on 20 September via the Fir Trade. Encompassing the daydreams of singer Ryan Anderson, the songs of Memory Fever offer themselves well to the album’s title. They instantly bask in reminiscence, dripping with wistful, dreamy reflections that lull listeners into a mallow sentiment. It’s feel-good folk music with an authoritative optimism striking into the starkest shadows. Any of the growing pains associated with getting old, Bendigo Fletcher wagers, can be improved with a dose of loving nostalgia.
Rayland Baxter, who worked on Memory Fever, tells PopMatters, “Kentucky is my second favorite state. I say this as a general observer of land and mankind. If not for the massive geographical wonder I have witnessed in America’s great state of Wyoming, Kentucky would be my number one. I love cornfields, and I love miracles, both of which I have witnessed in the bluegrass state.”
“Deep inside the maze of maize lay a honey hole … a creation upon a creation … a feeling more so than a faction … a deliverance from the distraction of life that we all call Thunder Sound. This is the recording studio in Franklin, Kentucky where I got to know Ryan Anderson and the rest of Bendigo Fletcher. Knowing little upon arrival, we became friends at the handshake. Yes, yes, I met the band early in 2017. Ee shared a bill in Lexington at a great venue called The Burl. I heard Ryan’s voice from across the parking lot, and it shattered my ability to focus on anything. But we talked, and we shook hands, we drank beers and traded compliments and then headed our separate ways. Jump forward five months, and there we are, in Thunder Sound, for what seemed to be a private listening party. I can’t keep my mouth shut though, so I proposed we dig into the songs for a while and see what happens if we put some thunder up in them.
“Two of my dear friends, Billy Swayze and Tiger Merritt-—the creative creators of Thunder Sound Studio—passed away earlier this year. However long or short their goodbye had been, I was lucky enough to spend a great deal of time under their guidance (unbeknownst to them). The Bendigo Fletcher session was indeed one of these times, and I am grateful, so grateful for this; grateful for Billy and Tiger, as well as Ryan, for bringing us together.
“So there we are in Kentucky with a pile of songs, so we got to diggin’. The further we dug, the more the songs grew, and the more I grew, as a human and as a musician. So, in turn, a memory was created: a gang of tiny memories inside a big, beautiful memory that will never go away and that is the most beautiful truth I take away from the entire experience. This EP is pure just like Ryan’s smile. His heart pumps in and out of these songs. Harmonies and black cats; marijuana smoke and short jokes; a chess set he left in my breast pocket was a reminder of our time. I don’t even know if this is a review, but who wants the norm anyways. Go see Bendigo Fletcher live, because everything makes sense when I am lucky enough to catch the bloom in action.”
September 27 – The Burl – Lexington, KY
October 5 – The Living Room Series – Louisville, KY
October 9 – White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX
October 11 – Granada Theatre – Dallas, TX
October 12 – The Moonshiners Ball – Livingston, KY
October 25 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO