Ryan Culwell — Flatlands (March 3, 2015)
♣ Není to nedostatkové zboží v současnosti, když se chlap od rodiny postaví před publikum s akustickou kytarou, toto album však stojí za pozornost. Elmore Magazine, New Noise Magazine, American Songwritter a další odborná periodika album vyzdvihují pro trvale platné atributy bez tendence přijímat falešné pozlátko; album je dokladem člověka prozíravého a zarputilého, navíc po boku parťáka, hráče a producenta Neilsona Hubbarda. Nový hlas v americana stylu, skladatelská lahůdečka.
♣ ‘Flatlands’ tackles the good, the bad and the dusty in Texas panhandle.
♣ “I reached some plains so vast, that I did not find their limit anywhere I went . . . with no more land marks than if we had been swallowed up by the sea . . . . there was not a stone, nor bit of rising ground, nor a tree, nor a shrub, nor anything to go by.” — Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, 1541
♣ “I don't want to tell the world that I've worked harder than other artists. I probably haven't. But I have kept my head in the game long enough to write a couple of decent songs. It's not really different than the farmers who stuck it out in years of drought or just pushed their necks out when the wind blew all their topsoil away.” — Ryan Culwell Location: Perryton ~~ Amarillo TX ~~ Nashville, TN
Album release: March 3, 2015
Record Label: Lightning Rod
01. Amarillo 3:15
02. Never Gonna Cry 3:25
03. Flatlands 3:23
04. I Think I’ll Be Their God 3:33
05. Darkness 3:02
06. Red River 4:24
07. I Will Come For You 3:17
08. Piss Down In My Bones 2:27
09. Won’t Come Home 3:23
10. Satisfied 2:26
11. War 2:57
12. Horses 4:24
♣ Ryan Culwell Composer, Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals
♣ Jim DeMain Mastering
♣ Kris Donegan Banjo, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Lap Steel Guitar, Mandolin
♣ Neilson Hubbard Bass, Engineer, Mixing, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Vocals (Background)
♣ Evan Hutchings Drums, Percussion
♣ Danny Karr Back Cover Photo
♣ Eamon McLaughlin Fiddle
♣ Kim Richey Vocals (Background)
♣ Michael Rinne Bass (Upright)
♣ Josh Rogers Bass
♣ Natalie Schlabs Vocals (Background)
♣ Colton Thomas Drums, Percussion
♣ Seth Wieck Cover Art, Liner Notes
♣ When asked to describe his music, Ryan Culwell says, listening to my music is like watching No County For Old Men...all the emptiness and violence will either scare you away or you ll find yourself alone at 3am with it on repeat. His songs tell tales of oilfields, honky tonks, loss, fistfights, and the forgotten place that is the panhandle of Texas. On March 3rd, Ryan Culwell will release Flatlands, his first album in more than 8 years, on Lightning Rod Records (Jason Isbell, Billy Joe Shaver, Amanda Shires). Culwell was born in Perryton, TX and spent most his life among the company of roughneck oilfield men in a small town near the epicenter of the Dust Bowl. Like many from West Texas, Culwell loves the land and he hates it, bearing all the scars of a man who believes he can find mountains in a landscape that resembles a table top. He s not unlike Tom Joad: tough, but gentle. But tough. Like one of album s most powerful songs, he s got Piss Down In His Bones, but don t let that scare you away from an artist that s certain to be one of 2015 s best new voices in American music.
♣ “The Bible Belt cousin to Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska.” — Andrew Leahey, Rolling Stone
♣ “...expressing the realities of class and region in ways that many other writers barely touch.” — Ann Powers, NPR MUSIC
♣ “Stark and stunning folk masterworks from a former roadhouse country singer.” — Brian T. Atkinson, CMT EDGEReview
♣ Written by Jonathan Bernstein | July 30th, 2015 at 10:13 am | Score: 3.5
♣ 20 years ago, James McMurtry wrote “Levelland,” the story of a young, bored man wrestling with his west Texas past and trying to leave home. “I’m gonna fly as far as I can get,” the narrator sings at the end of the song, dreaming of liberation from the dust and endless sky.
♣ Ryan Culwell grew up a few hours north of Levelland in the northwest Texas panhandle town of Perrytown. In 2006, he recorded his debut album, a pleasant, if nondescript,collection of heartland country–rockers, and then fled to Nashville a few years later.
♣ It took leaving home for Culwell to make Flatlands, the type of identity–forming, stark statement of a record that introduces an artist to the world and leaves an impression too strong, too vivid to ignore. With its first–person tales of long–lost family history and tortured coming–of–age revelations, Culwell’s most recent record chronicles the sights, scenes and smells of his youth: the dry windy air, the menacing oil fields, the remnants of generations past found by the riverbank.
♣ Culwell lays his own dilemma bare in the album’s first few tracks. “Have I been here for way too long?” Culwell asks on the superb opening number, “Amarillo.” Most of Flatlands is an attempt to answer that question, a 12–song struggle with the notions of restlessness versus loyalty, adventure versus home.
♣ The men and women of Flatlands are desperate to flee town, but they can’t stop missing the panhandle winds as soon as they do. “Won’t Come Home” is a warning addressed to anyone thinking about leaving home for greener pastures: “If you leave you won’t come home, you’ll find other worlds to roam,” Culwell sings, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, “but your heart will long for all this space.” As the song progresses, it’s hard not to wonder who Culwell is singing to — a lover? A sibling? A close friend? But by the end of the plea, it’s clear that he could only be addressing the cautious, heartfelt warning to himself. ♣ http://www.americansongwriter.com/
Tom Haugen | 8:40 am April 2, 2015 | Score: *****
BY ANDREW LEAHEY | February 23, 2015
Lee Zimmerman | March 4th, 2015 | SCORE: 70
Interview: Brian T. Atkinson