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Now Again

Now Again

4.5 2
by The Flatlanders
Thirty years separate the Flatlanders' celebrated debut from this follow-up, but Now Again finds legendary Lubbock singer-songwriters Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock reuniting with the ease of long-lost brothers. The trio announce their return with the


Thirty years separate the Flatlanders' celebrated debut from this follow-up, but Now Again finds legendary Lubbock singer-songwriters Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock reuniting with the ease of long-lost brothers. The trio announce their return with the mournful melody and elliptical lyrics of Utah Phillips's "Going Away," suggesting that they're revisiting the soul-searching terrain of their indelible 1972 debut, More a Legend Than a Band, but as it plays on, Now Again turns out to be a bit more whimsical, a bit lighter, though no less profound an experience. The musical elements behind these three distinctive, warmly weathered voices are all intact, from Ely's razor-edged, serpentine guitar lines to Joel Guzman's Tex-Mex-flavored accordion to Steve Wesson's otherworldly musical saw. The Flatlanders display their new, lighthearted approach on the playful western swing number "My Wildest Dreams Grow Wilder Every Day," where Gilmore juxtaposes some serious queries -- "Just how wild is too high a price to pay?" -- against a merry musical backdrop. Similarly, "Down on Filbert's Rise" shuffles to a brisk tempo that creates an unsettling contrast with Gilmore's quavering voice telling of an old lover's haunting ways. Playing the lover under siege, Ely declaims "I Thought the Wreck Was Over" to a tough, twangy rock 'n' roll tune. The album-closing group sing, "South Wind of Summer," hits those mystical heights only the Flatlanders can scale, while lyrically linking the blessing of a restorative breeze and the changing seasons to a man seeking refuge for his soul. With the open plain beckoning, he wanders alone as the music, mirroring his journey, shifts from a deliberate balladic pace to a gallop. As the song fades out, with the three voices interlocking on the lines "And the south wind of summer/blows where it will," it feels like a revelation, another of nature's gifts. With Now Again, the Flatlanders have accomplished the unlikely feat of returning home -- again.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
When the Flatlanders' first (and for many years only) album finally received a proper release in America in 1990, 18 years after it was recorded, it was called More a Legend Than a Band. Three decades after those first sessions, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock, three of Texas' most celebrated singer/songwriters, finally made it back into the studio to cut a second album, and on Now Again the Flatlanders finally sound like an honest-to-goodness band -- -- or at least full collaborators -- in a way they never did before. While Gilmore tended to dominate the songs on More a Legend Than a Band (not surprising, since the band was often billed as Jimmie Dale Gilmore & the Flatlanders), Now Again sounds a lot more democratic; the glorious waver of Gilmore's tenor is still the band's strongest vocal presence, but the bluesy bite of Joe Ely's voice and Butch Hancock's homey storyteller's twang get a much bigger share of the spotlight, and their harmonies have both the good humor and the Friday-night enthusiasm of a barroom singalong (though with a good bit more precision). With two exceptions, all the songs for Now Again were written collectively by the trio, and the material honors the three distinctive but complimentary personalities on board, from the easygoing roadhouse stomp of "Wavin' My Heart Goodbye" and the down-home metaphysics of "Down in the Light of the Melon Moon" to the bluesy lope of "Right Where I Belong" and the joyously goofy neo-rockabilly of "Pay the Alligator." Rather than sounding like a reunion of some aging cosmic cowboys, Now Again is the work of three singular talents who are also good friends, and the give and take of their musical personalities speaks both for their respect for one another and the understanding of their abilities; in short, this time out the Flatlanders really are a band, and Now Again is an album from them that's strong enough to honor their long-simmering legend.
Rolling Stone - Richard Skanse
1/2 The result is a profoundly Texan take on the Traveling Wilburys.
An event record that lives up to all expectations.

Product Details

Release Date:
New West Records

Related Subjects


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Flatlanders   Primary Artist
Jimmie Dale Gilmore   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Butch Hancock   Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Joe Ely   Acoustic Guitar,Dobro,Harmonica,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Mitch Watkins   Guitar
Paul Glasse   Mandolin
Gene Elders   Fiddle
Lloyd Maines   Dobro,Steel Guitar
Tony Pearson   Vocals
Steve Wesson   Vocals,Saw
Glenn Fukunaga   Bass
Rafael Gayol   Percussion,Drums
Chris Searles   Percussion,Drums
Gary Herman   Bass Guitar,Vocals
Joel Jose Guzman   Accordion
Robbie Gjersoe   Acoustic Guitar,Dobro,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Slide Banjo

Technical Credits

Joe Ely   Producer
Eric Paul   Engineer
Little Johnny Fader   Engineer
Wyatt McSpadden   Back Cover

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Now Again 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With the release of their second album in thirty years, the Flatlanders make good on a reputation that¿s rested on the latter-day impact of their 1972 debut and the solo careers of the band¿s legendary Texas constituents -- Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely. Their first record, released initially on eight-track tape, took eight years to reach vinyl, and another decade to CD. Its delayed discovery has had a steady, seeping influence on the alt.country landscape.

In the intervening three decades, the Flatlanders have existed ethereally through the member¿s long-standing friendships, fed by appearances on one another¿s solo albums, the occasional one-off performance, and, finally, this sophomore LP. The result is less a reunion than a confluence of three successful careers grown from the same soil. Gilmore brings his mystical tenor voice and songwriting mix of acoustic folk, country and blues, Ely adds his array of honky-tonk, rockabilly, and western swing styles, and Hancock provides poetic images and detailed stories with his Dylanesque voice.

In contrast to their debut, on which Gilmore sang all the leads, the new songs were written as a trio, with vocals shared among the principals. Steve Wesson¿s ghostly musical saw, so prominent on the debut, has been reduced to a more subliminal presence, and the mood is less plaintive and individualistic than in 1972. The resulting collective voice reflects the lives of friends who¿ve progressed from the youthful discovery of college housemates to the shared realities of adults.

The surprise of the Flatlanders¿ invention couldn¿t help but give way to familiarity across thirty years of intertwined careers, and in a music world that¿s grown to accept their inter-genre interests. The revelation of their first outing has been replaced here by rediscovery, proving itself a most fitting companion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago