The Flatlanders playing a concert in Lubbock on June 3rd, 2009.
|Genres||Country rock, Alternative country|
|Years active||1972–1973, 1998–present|
|Members||Jimmie Dale Gilmore
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.
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 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 Flatlanders appeared as musical guests on the Late Show with David Letterman on July 21, 2009 and on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion on April 27, 2013 live from Lubbock.
American Songwriter writes "In honor of their 40th anniversary, 'founding fathers of Americana' The Flatlanders (Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock) will release The Odessa Tapes on August 28 via New West Records. The album is composed of recently discovered recordings from 1972 that were believed lost for nearly forty years."
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions|
|US Country||US||US Heat||US Indie|
|One More Road||
|More a Legend Than a Band||
|Wheels of Fortune||
|Hills and Valleys||
|The Odessa Tapes||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
- The Flatlanders at AllMusic
- "Song Premiere: The Flatlanders, "Shadow Of The Moon"". Song Premiere: The Flatlanders, “Shadow Of The Moon”. America Songwriter. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- The Flatlanders official website
- Lubbock Lights, a 2005 film starring The Flatlanders
- Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Finalist History from Happenstance and Doug Coppock
- Garelick, Jon (February 20, 2004). "The three troubadours: Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock keep the Flatlanders alive". The Boston Phoenix.
- Riggs, Carolyn Pennypacker (May 30, 2009). "The Flatlanders: Knocks Your Brain Out Of Your Skull". L.A. Record.