by: Thomas D. Mooney
Flatlands is the second album by Perryton, Texas native Ryan Culwell. The album–officially out today (March 03)–has slowly, but surely picked up some steam and is being championed as the heir-apparent to the likes of Steve Earle, Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen, and Panhandle natives, The Flatlanders–Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and most of all, Butch Hancock.
There’s undoubtedly a vein of honesty that careens back and forth throughout the 12-track masterpiece that paints the Flatlands exactly what they are to most. He captures the highs, lows, and the in-betweens without harping or celebrating either too much. The southern gothic elements read like Cormac McCarthy or William Faulkner characters brought to life.
The Panhandle can be harsh. It can be brutal, hardening, and desolate. It can break down an individual. Still, it’s a beautiful place filled with a resilient people who are for the most part, a hard-working bunch. They’re in many ways, still the backbone of American culture. Culwell’s ability to capture these individuals in Flatlands is as authentic as it is incredible.
It’s something many songwriters strive for, but so few have been able to achieve. And when it comes down to it, it’s probably because Culwell is a hard working American himself.
We spoke with Culwell last week about the album that we’ll be publishing later this week. In addition, Culwell will be playing The Blue Light on Friday, March 13 opening for singer-songwriter Hayden Huse.
02. Never Gonna Cry
04. I Think I’ll be Their God
06. Red River
07. I Will Come For You
08. Piss Down in My Bones
09. Won’t Come Home
Watch/Listen to the official music video for the song “Red River” below.