We all know what heartbreak feels like; that ache deep inside your chest that longs to embrace the past. Well, the 2017 IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Vocal Group of the Year, Flatt Lonesome, knows what heartache sounds like. “Silence in These Walls” is a pot boiling over with emotion, and it is sure to bring back memories of loves left behind.
Flatt Lonesome is comprised of six musicians: Dominic Illingworth (bass), Kelsi Robertson Harrigill (mandolin/vocals), Paul Harrigill (banjo), Buddy Robertson (guitar/vocals), Charli Robertson (fiddle/vocals) and Michael Stockton (resophonic guitar). If you have not already guessed it, three of the band members are siblings, and two are married. Sibling harmony is the best to come by, because the almost inseparable vocals produce the sweetest sound.
This sweetness translates into every cut of this new record thanks to the genius of Paul Harrigill. Paul and Kelsi are the main songwriters for this bluegrass group. The husband-wife duo have at least seven writing credits on Silence in These Walls. These include: “Gently Please Tell Me Goodbye,” “Falling” and “All My Life.” Much of the album is melancholy, but the soulful lyrics and instrumental breaks the Harrigills penned make it something you want to listen to on repeat.
“Falling” is a perfect example of the solid picking and bright vocals Flatt Lonesome is capable of. This song circles around the idea of literally falling in love with that someone through romantic evenings dancing in the moonlight. The calm, easy-going track is one-of-a-kind on this album compared to other numbers like “It’s Just Sad” in which the singer’s lover has left, and she is just left with memories which she compares to “priceless souvenirs.” Not to mention, it gives Michael Stockton the chance to show off some of his dobro skills.
Compared to the last three albums Flatt Lonesome has recorded, this one is the most outstanding. I believe the reason why it is resonating so much with the bluegrass world is because it is different compared to what other artists are cranking out. Alison Krauss is the queen when it comes to slow and sappy songs about love and loss, but Silence in These Walls could even put her in a corner.
It takes guts, but more importantly belief in your talents as an artist to pursue an album that goes against the status quo. Flatt Lonesome continues to raise the bar for themselves, and in doing so, they continue to demand presence in the bluegrass genre. Their creative, original and cover material makes them a great band to listen to on and off the stage.
In the end, writing songs about wishing you never met a man, needing to build a bridge to get over love and crying all day over a man who went away was a big pay-off for the group. I foresee more IBMA nominations for Flatt Lonesome. Who knows, maybe they will take Album of the Year in 2018.
(You can order your own copy of Silence In These Walls here!)