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The Flatlanders

The Flatlanders playing a concert in Lubbock on June 3rd, 2009.
Background information
Origin Lubbock, Texas
Genres Country , Alternative Country
Years active 1972-1973, 1998-present
Labels New West
Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Joe Ely
Butch Hancock

The Flatlanders are a country band with considerable country-rock influence from Lubbock, Texas founded by singers/songwriters/guitarists Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, and Butch Hancock.

They garnered little attention during their brief original incarnation (1972-73), but when the band's three core members later found success in solo careers, interest in The Flatlanders was rekindled, and the band has reformed a few times since.



The Flatlanders formed in 1972 in Lubbock, Texas. Gilmore, Ely and Hancock formed the group, with Gilmore as the main songwriter and singer, with several other collaborators: their friends Steve Wesson, previously a non-musician, on autoharp and musical saw and Tony Pearson on mandolin and backup harmony, as well as Tommy Hancock (no relation) on fiddle and string bassist Syl Rice.

One of the band's first appearance was at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1972, where they were named one of the winners of the inaugural Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Singer/Songwriter Competition.

The band's first recording project was produced in 1972 by Shelby Singleton, the then-owner of Memphis, Tennessee's famed Sun Studios. A promotional single, Gilmore's "Dallas", was a commercial failure, and the planned album, All American Music, was all but scrapped, being released only in a small run on 8 track tape in order to fulfill contractual obligations.

The Flatlanders performed through 1973 before disbanding. By the end of the decade, however, Gilmore, Ely and Hancock had all found success as solo performers, and rumors of their earlier obscure collaboration began to circulate. In 1991, Rounder Records issued the 1972 sessions as More a Legend Than a Band, now recognized as a milestone of progressive, alternative country, at once reminiscent of early country music from the 1930s and '40s, and with an otherworldly quality from Wesson's shimmering musical saw and Gilmore's mystical leanings, as on his song "Bhagavan Decreed."

The three musicians continued to reunite for occasional Flatlanders performances. In 1998 they contributed to the soundtrack of The Horse Whisperer, and then in 2002 released their long-awaited follow-up album, Now Again, on New West Records. In 2004 this was followed with Wheels of Fortune, again on New West. In 2004, New West released Live '72 a live recording of the then-unknown country band performing at the One Knite honky-tonk in Austin, Texas.

The Flatlanders' new album, Hills & Valleys, was released by New West on March 31, 2009. The album features the classic vocals of the three members with the ephemeral sounds and lyrics that have made The Flatlanders popular.

The Flatlanders appeared as musical guests on The Late Show with Dave Letterman on July 21, 2009.




Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country US US Heat US Indie
1980 One More Road Plantation
1990 More a Legend Than a Band Rounder
2002 Now Again 19 168 3 12 New West
2004 Live '72
Wheels of Fortune 35 17 17
2009 Hills and Valleys 38 14 47

Other contributions

  • 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin - Broadcasts Vol.10 (2002) - "I Had My Hopes Up High"
  • Eklektikos Live (2005) - "Eggs of Your Chickens"

External links


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