Now Again

Now Again

by The Flatlanders
4.5 2

CD

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Overview

Now Again

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.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/21/2002
Label: New West Records
UPC: 0607396604029
catalogNumber: 6040
Rank: 117110

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

Customer Reviews

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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