From “Humble Folks” to “Homeland Insecurity”

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Photo courtesy of Bryan Burk.
Flatland Cavalry’s new album “Homeland Insecurity” artwork.

Seven years after Flatland Cavalry was formed in Lubbock, Texas they released a new full length album, “Homeland Insecurity,” on Jan. 18. Flatland Cavalry has released one extended play (EP) and one other full length album since forming in 2012, “Come May” and “Humble Folks.” Their most recent album “Homeland Insecurity” was written while Flatland Cavalry was on the road touring and that is where the inspiration for the album came from.

“Well we were living on the road for the past three years meeting humble folks and playing in the pacific northwest, New York and Georgia,” said Cleto Cordero, lead vocals and guitar of Flatland Cavalry. “We were meeting so many people and realizing that we are all the same. We might speak differently and dress differently but when you show up and play your songs you realize, that there’s this human emotion thing that goes on and a lot of our songs are somber like ‘Missing You.’ They kind of tell a story about a wallflower just watching things.

“If anything what the record is all about is that we are all a little insecure about where am I going to be a year from now,” said Cordero. “Where am I going to be five years from now? How much time do I have left with my parents? All those songs about that human insecurity and the uncertainty of the future, kind of inspired by the people.”

Cordero had to find the isolation and solitude while traveling to write the songs for the album. Cordero’s two favorite songs on their most recent are “Pretty Woman” and “Years From Now.”

“’Pretty Woman’ came out really nice,” Cordero said. “It was the first waltz we have ever done. It feels open and roomy. It just sounds like we were playing in a room. Lyrically, I think it’s a really nice song, kind of  almost on the side of promiscuous. I figured we might get some backlash on it. If not that song then ‘Years From Now,’ kind of ends up naming the album. It’s really special because I think people get so worked up about what’s happening right now and then you realize that five years from now none of this will matter at all. I think that was kind of something that I needed to hear.”

On the “Humble Folks” album, Cordero sang “A Life Where We Work Out” with now girlfriend, Kaitlin Butts. Butts has been supportive through the journey of this new album.

“She’s been great. She helped me finish some of the songs on the record. Just throughout it all, she never really gave up on me pursuing the dream in general and nothing but supportive,” Cordero said. “Honestly, without people like her it’s a lot harder to make it through, at least with your sanity at the end of it all. She’s definitely been great.”

Along with writing the songs on the new album, Cordero decided to do something different to go along with “Homeland Insecurity.” This something different was a comic book.

“I thought about it for a long time. We are always trying to do something different. Last album we paired a mexican beano game to put with the CD,” said Cordero. “I was talking to producer and was like let’s do a comic book. They were all really excited about it. It also entices people to pick up an actual physical copy.”

Photo courtesy of Fernando Garcia.
Flatland Cavalry band members Dillon, Albers, Cordero, Hall and Saenz playing at a concert.

Reid Dillon, Wesley Hall, Jonathan Saenz , Jason Albers and Cordero make up Flatland Cavalry. Before Hall, Laura Jane played the fiddle with Flatland Cavalry.

“We all met in college. When I was going to Texas Tech, I met our drummer (Albers). We were roommates down there and we have been playing since we were 12 years old. So me and him kind of went down there to play music and play open mic nights and stuff. Then we found a guitar player (Dillon). He was a chemical engineer student. Me and his brother were in a business fraternity at Tech and he said ‘Man, my little brother plays guitar.’ So we picked him up through that,” Cordero said. “Our bass player, Johnny, was playing with some bands around that time, like Dolly Shine and he was finally off the gig. I got his number through somebody and we called him and he has been with us ever since. We just recently added Wesley Hall on fiddle and he is out of Stephenville. We found him through the grapevine. Johnny used to play with him and Dolly Shine. Everyone is kind of real familiar and it’s always kind of been who is in arms reach in our family however, it has worked out really well. I am grateful for the band and crew that we have now. I’d say we have one of the best, in my opinion.”

After the band was formed, Cordero had to figure out a name.

“My name gets missed pronounced all the time so I didn’t want to be a Cleto Band,” said Cordero. “So I wanted to have a different band name. We grew up in Midland and living out their its flat land. Then moving up to Lubbock, I thought Flatland something would be really cool. Joey Lee had group called the Flatlanders and I was really bummed out because I thought that would be really cool. Then, I was working out with a buddy and he said what about Cleto and the Calvary and I said what about Flatland Cavalry?”

When Flatland Cavalry started out, they were playing at bars near and on Broadway St. in Lubbock as a cover band for college students. Cordero never thought that they would grow like they did.

“You dream and aspire and stuff but I guess for the music to spread so quickly it was kind of awesome,” said Cordero. “It still seems to be spreading out there and we are grateful for that. To say we expected it would be would be not necessarily but we worked hard and hoped that it would come about. “

“Easy listening, songs from the heart” is what Cordero describes Flatland Cavalry’s music as.

Photo courtesy of Fernando Garcia.
Lead singer of Flatland Cavalry, Cleto Cordero singing at a concert.

“You just tell them it’s easy on the ears, heavy on the heart which is kind of pitching it across the play,” Cordero said. “Which means, I have heard from a lot of people say, ‘Man, I don’t even like country, but, I like your music.’ It’s kind of just a loosely defined country. I really do think it’s music for anybody. I kind of feel like it’s that Americano genre it is. It’s a blending of all these styles and you might have a guy that likes more rock music and then you get a song like ‘Ashes’ or ‘Coyote’ and they might be the inlet into your music. I just think we are just a little bit of everything, easy listening, foot stompin’, acoustic and fiddle.”

Cordero wants the new album to hopefully makes them feel something whether it be happy, sad, or alive.

You can catch Flatland Cavalry performing their new album at Twisted J Live in Stephenville on Feb. 23. Doors open at 7 p.m., Judson Cole Band takes the stage at 9 p.m. with Flatland Cavalry following. You can purchase tickets for this concert here.