- Going Away
- Wavin' My Heart Goodbye
- Down in the Light of the Melon Moon
- Right Where I Belong
- My Wildest Dreams Grow Wilder Every Day
- I Thought the Wreck Was Over
- Yesterday Was Judgement Day
- Now It's Now Again
- All You Are Love
- You Make It Look Easy
- Pay the Alligator
- Down on Filbert's Rise
- South Wind of Summer
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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.
|Label:||New West Records|
Performance CreditsFlatlanders 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 CreditsJoe Ely Producer
Eric Paul Engineer
Little Johnny Fader Engineer
Wyatt McSpadden Back Cover
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.