Lubbock's Flatland Cavalry brings Panhandle country to El Paso

ELPASO TIMES

June 6, 2017 / Dave Acosta

Lubbock’s Flatland Cavalry made a splash last year with its debut full-length release, “Humble Folks.”

The album is filled with the band’s catchy hooks and instrumental melodies, with nods to Texas country music, red-dirt country, folk, Americana and pop-rock.

Founded by two friends from Midland, singer Cleto Cordero and drummer Jason Albers, the group will take its West Texas and Panhandle sounds to the State Line Bar-B-Q restaurant’s Live Music Series on June 14.

During a phone interview from the group’s van in between tour stops, Cordero said Flatland Cavalry’s journey has been nothing short of exciting since the album was released.

“We’re touring more than we have been and we’ve opened up for a lot of our heroes,” Cordero said.

 

The group built up some buzz in the Texas country scene after its debut EP “Come May” was released in 2015. Even with that early success, Cordero said, he and his bandmates have been taken aback by the response to “Humble Folks,” which enjoyed a Top 20 debut on Billboard magazine’s Americana/Folk albums chart and peaked at No. 38 on the Country Albums chart.

“We were excited to release it,” Cordero said. “We were not expecting (it to reach the charts), but we were hoping people would buy it. I think people are tired of listening to carbon copy music that some of the country artists out in Nashville are putting out. It’s kind of gotten a little far away from country and from reality. Life is not a party sometimes. I think there’s a resurgence of honest songwriting.”

That honest songwriting and sincere lyricism can be heard on the song “February Snow.” Glued together with a warm melody from fiddle player Laura Jane, Cordero sings lines like “We were the couple others tried to be/Now you're just you and I’m just me,” in his smooth Midland drawl.

“It’s music for everyone and anyone that has experienced heartbreak or love. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.”

Cleto Cordero, singer for Lubbock's Flatland Cavalry

“We’re just trying to be honest with our songwriting and writing about real people’s emotions,” Cordero said. “It’s music for everyone and anyone that has experienced heartbreak or love. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.”

Cordero said that his love for music, especially country, is rooted in his hometown.

“Growing up in West Texas, there’s not a whole lot to do,” Cordero said. “When a country concert comes to town, it’s kind of a big event. Then, moving to Lubbock, it’s so isolated, but it’s got a rich history of Texas artists, going back to Pat Green and Cory Morrow, and back to Buddy Holly. Being isolated kind of stirs up your creativity, I guess.”

Next week's concert will be Flatland Cavalry’s first public concert in El Paso. Cordero said the group performed at a wedding in the Sun City awhile back.

Cordero said that “it’s been surreal” performing in front of new audiences that already know the words to many of the group’s songs.

“You can’t really appreciate it till afterwards. You’re there doing your job, playing music,” Cordero said. “But you get back to your hotel and you’re like, ‘Man, we are 600 miles from home and we packed this little bar and had people singing along.’ We’re very grateful.”

Dave Acosta may be reached at 546-6138; dacosta@elpasotimes.com; @Chuy_Vuitton on Twitter.