Flatt Lonesome has offered a preview track from their new CD, Runaway Train, for our readers. It’s for the song You’ll Pay, written by Danny Roberts and Paul Harrigill, currently the #2 track on our Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay chart.
The number demonstrates the traits that have brought this young band to the top of the bluegrass heap, with solid picking and the soaring family harmony that has become their trademark.
We caught up with Kelsi Harrigill, mandolinist with Flatt Lonesome, and one of the group’s three lead vocalists, to chat about the new album, and their rapid rise cute teen pickers to serious entertainers. She and her twin siblings, Charli and Buddy Robertson, have been singing together most of their lives. They played bluegrass in a band with their parents, called Sandy Creek Revival, and videos that exist of this group show what looks more like scared kids than seasoned performers.
Kelsi agreed, saying that the switch from being a cover band to recording their own songs was a big part of that process.
“Over time, we’ve learned to play and record together as a more cohesive unit. Runaway Train shows the band’s maturity and seriousness about the music that we love so much!
More than half of the songs on Runaway Train are original material. We love original material because of how personal it is for us and for fans, but we do not record those songs just because they are original. We also had friends bring us older, traditional songs that fit us wonderfully.”
But sibling rivalries aren’t completely a thing of the past, especially when musical decisions have to be made.
“Many times when Buddy, Charli and I bring a song to the band, it is a song that we want for ourselves (we’re kind of selfish like that!). On songs that we’ve written, we may have someone specific in mind, or we may have to fight for it a little. Also, some songs are more suitable for certain voices, which is the case for us many times because the three of us have different feeling in our singing.”
Kelsi says that the non-Robertson members of Flatt Lonesome are like family too. Banjo man Paul Harrigill is exactly like family, as she and Paul were married in 2012, and reso-guitarist Michael Stockton and bass player Dominic Ellsworth are long time friends as well.
And that sentiment extends to their label.
“Mountain Home is just such a great place to record. When you’re in a small space recording for days at a time, you need a place where you feel comfortable, and that is Mountain Home for us. The people at the label are family. Our engineer, Van Atkins, has spent more time with us and seen more Flatt Lonesome craziness than he probably wants to admit!
Hmm, come to think of it, he’s probably seen more that we would want him to admit!”
Have a listen to You’ll Pay. We’ll have a review of the full album in short order.