For an artist, there is always a bit of relief felt when they have finished an album and it is released for the public to buy. After all, things can sometimes take a mysterious turn in the music business, and just because you spend six months to a year recording an album doesn’t necessarily mean it will see the light of day. With that said, the country-rock group Flynnville Train is excited to see the release of their new album, Redemption.
“I would compare it to something like restoring a car or a house. You get started on something, and you try to envision what it’s going to be like when its done,” says guitarist Brent Flynn. “In your mind, you think that it’s never going to be done, and when it is, you’re like wow….I can look at it and see it, and hold it in my hand and see it.”
Released on Next Evolution Records, the album marks their departure from Toby Keith’s Show Dog label. Though the band will be forever grateful to the “Big Dog” for the opportunity, they feel that they are on the right path.
“We kind of did things differently this time. We took more control of it from a business side of things,” says drummer Tommy Bales. “We put our own team together on this, and to be able to get it out on our own with the deal that we have is rewarding. Because of the climate change in the business, it’s enabled us to do that, and still have an impact.”
As President Harry Truman once said, “The Buck stops here,” as the band had total control of their music and their business. Bales feels that’s a good thing. “It is scary, but we’ve been doing this for a long time. The one thing that we’ve learned, having been on a bigger deal is that we need to do things our way. As far as the way we go about creating music, we don’t do it like other people…We had to create those opportunities for ourselves. That’s why we made the change on the business side, so it was worth that risk, and at the end of the day….we look at ourselves, and that’s okay…We’re okay with that.”
Merging art and commerce requires a delicate balance to be struck, but according to Brent Flynn, they sometimes work hand in hand with each other. “The business side of things gets in the way sometimes, but it’s just something you deal with. But, in some ways and respects, it helps create the art. A lot of what you hear on this record comes from those experiences, and what we’ve dealt with on the business side of things.”
The track “On Our Way” was very much in this vein, according to lead singer Brian Flynn.
“The whole band wrote the song, but I came up with the idea. I basically wrote it about our father. Then we started writing about our experiences….No matter what we do, we’re always going to do this—on any level. It’s one of the songs that I’m probably most proud of on the record. There have been a lot of people who have said, ‘We really like that song,’ We just tried to write the truth.”
In other words, it’s a song that each member of Flynnville Train has lived. “I think it’s easier to write a true story than it is to make up a concoction of some clichéd hook line. We were in Kentucky recording when we wrote it, and we had been away from our families. We were all pretty homesick when we wrote that song, and the second verse of the song came from those feelings. If you listen to it, we talk about the people back home that support us, and are always there for us. We really felt it that day, and that’s where that came from.”
Flynn admits that while lounging around at home sounds appealing, it doesn’t work if you want to be a musician. “You can’t be a musician and sit on the couch, You have to go out to the people, and unfortunately you have to be away from the ones you love. Our families pay the sacrifice for that, but they’re always there beside us, and we appreciate that. We wanted to give them something back as well.”
One of the other standout cuts on Redemption is the nostalgic “33 Steps,” which details the historic path that many a Grand Ole Opry star took from the Ryman to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. If you appreciate the history of country music, you’ll love the song. The band feels like the song is one of the strongest cuts on the album, along with the moving “Friends Of Sinners.”
“When we first heard the song, it was written by a friend of ours, Travis Meadows—we knew we had to record it. We thank God that he wrote it, and gave us an opportunity to do it. It expresses a side of us that is very important—our spiritual side. We’re not afraid to stand up and talk about Jesus. That’s important to us. This gave us that opportunity, and it touches a lot of people in different ways. People can relate to it. For us, it’s a great thing to be able to offer that song as part of the record. It’s a very important element of that record because we have all grown spiritually the last few years—together. That’s kind of a reflection of that.”
One song that might be familiar to some is a cover of America’s 1971 smash “Sandman,” although the updated version is a little different, according to Brian Flynn.
“The song ‘Sandman’ refers to [Osama] Bin Laden. The lyrics have taken on a new meaning over the years. When we recorded the song, we really wanted to capture a vibe that we could give to the military—ur little tiny part of what is going on. We wanted to capture the anger that we all felt after the 9/11 attacks, and all that happened. The day we recorded the song, we woke up and pulled out a bunch of footage from the attacks. We sat and watched it, and got really pissed off. We put pictures of Bin Laden and the World Trade Center collapsing all around the studio. We put red light bulbs in all the lamps in the studio. I get chills talking about it, but we really wanted to capture that emotion—that pissed off emotion. There are sections of the song that is like a war cry—if you listen to it. I feel like we captured that—we made every effort to anyway. You think about the soldier that is about to go into battle—I can’t begin to fathom what might be going on in their mind as they are doing that.”
It’s not all heavy subjects on Redemption. Many of the cuts have a party feel that might induce one to roll down the windows. If that’s you, bass player Damon Michael has a warning. “You could probably get a speeding ticket,” he says. “When we create or perform music, we spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of groove we want to put in it. The lighter songs, like ‘Tip A Can,’ Bryan was inspired to write while he was on vacation.”
As far as the goals go for Redemption, Bales says with his tongue planted firmly in-cheek. “We’d love to be multi-platinum,” he says, before taking a more serious tone. Honestly, the reality of it is if the album can touch one person, we’re happy. That’s why we do this. That’s why we make music. That’s our real go. I mean, we look it as a means from a business side, but it’s not fortune and fame that drives us. It’s a mean for us to make a decent living, and take care of the people that we love. We’ve all worked real jobs. We know what it’s like to go to work your ass off all week, so it’s hard to call this work because we love it so much. It’s not like digging ditches or fixing motors. It’s what we love to do.”
Fuente: LimeWire Music Blog