Apr 1, 2016
Album Review: Flatland Cavalry - Humble Folks
This one hits the spot.
I haven't felt much like writing reviews for a while now. It's not that there hasn't been some good music put out this year - just nothing I felt I could put any passion into writing about. Also, since we've brought on the full-barrel punk energy of Robert Dean and the damn near peerless wordsmithery of Kevin Broughton, there hasn't been much need for my everyman type reviewing, but this new album from Flatland Cavalry has pulled me out of mothballs.
Flatland Cavalry's Humble Folks is also the first album of 2016 to stir up all the feelings I like to have when listening to music. From the wistfulness of "A Good Memory" to the driving introspection of "Devil Off My Back," the sentimental wanderlust of "Traveler's Song" to the sad-sack lamenting of "Goodbye Kiss," Humble Folks is a tour-de-force of emotions and textures.
"Easy on the ears, heavy on the heart" reads the description on Flatland Cavalry's website, and that couldn't be more accurate. Their sound is an easygoing mix of red dirt country, pop melodies, laid back swing, and heartworn folk. And there's so much fiddle. Lord, but I love me some fiddle and I love Laura Jane's fiddling. It's all a perfectly accessible approach but one that doesn't scrimp on the craftsmanship and songwriting.
"Tall City Blues" grabs you with its portrayal of loneliness and unfulfilled dreams amid the high-rises and concrete canyons of the city. You can just imagine the twenty-something small town boy taking the accounting job in Houston, then slowly realizing the "difference in making a living and loving what you do."
"Stompin' Grounds" rescues that dispirited fellow back to his home town where the Shiner is cheaper and colder and the people are warmer. There's a lot of that sort of longing in Flatland Cavalry's music - yearning for real interaction and authentic folks. It's a welcome and relatable desire in a world that seems to grow more mean and detached with every passing day.
Humble Folks is a great album; certainly one of my favorites of the early year, and well worth your listen. It's a familiar sound, but one that with repeated listens will reveal deeper layers and twists of melody you haven't heard before. These songs are sure to make you think, smile, hurt, and tap your foot. Sometimes all at once. That's what good music does.
Flatland Cavalry is a no-doubter for fans of Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, The Damn Quails, and the like.
You can find Humble Folks on Lonestar Music , iTunes, etc.. (Out today)