FLATT LONESOME, RUNAWAY TRAIN
This is a near textbook example of what a top-rate recording from a top-rate band should be. Everyone involved, from the producers to the label to the bandmembers themselves, should be pleased with the results, and that should translate to even greater recognition for Flatt Lonesome.
As most good CDs do and probably should, this one hits the ground running with a driving original by Danny Roberts and Paul Hargill. “You’ll Pay” is in that modern-traditional style, one that blends classic bluegrass with an updated bluesy, modal feel. The chorus is quite catchy, as is the short between-verse riff. That’s followed by a cover of Gram Parsons “Still Feeling Blue.” Why more bands don’t cover that tune is open to debate. Flatt Lonesome gives it a good read, making slight adjustments that make it their own. Next up is a slow Dwight Yoakam song, “You’re The One,” that sounds little like Yoakam. The band has transformed it into a more relaxed, flowing form, yet manages to retain the intensity of the original.
At that point, you should be hooked. But Flatt Lonesome doesn’t let up. Six more originals follow, among them three gospel originals. Two are from Kelsi Hargill: the emphatic 3/4 time “In The Heat Of The Fire” and the more inspirational “In The Morning.” “Casting All Your Care On Him,” written with her husband Paul, sounds like an Osborne Brothers classic. Those three stand well beside the three openers and wonderful covers of “Don’t Come Running” from the Bluegrass Cardinals and “Mixed Up Mess Of A Heart” from Merle Haggard (by way of Buck Owens). The album ends on another highlight, “Runaway Train,” which finds the band mixing in drums and lap steel to great effect.
Underlying these tunes is excellent lead singing from the Robertson sisters, beautiful sibling harmonies with their brother Buddy, and vibrant instrumental settings. A very fine third release from a band that knows what works and achieves it. (Mountain Home, P.O. Box 829, Arden, NC 28704, www.mountainhomemusiccompany.com.)BW