CK and the Rising Tide – Friends


CK and the Rising Tide are poised to make serious inroads into the alt-country/Americana music community with their upcoming first studio release and its opening single “Friends” provides a tantalizing glimpse of what’s waiting for listeners on the band’s first collaboration. The project is an outgrowth, in some respects, of CK Flach’s solo album Empty Mansions. Flack, in the summer of 2017, began privately playing material from that album with violinist and keyboard player Danny Boudreau, bassist Chris Brant, and Flach taking up the drum kit for their jamming. The trio discovered they had a near immediate rapport and soon invited Flach’s brother Wayne to join them on guitar. They began generating new material together, as well as reworking material from CK and Wayne’s previous band The Kindness, in preparation for their first album release. If “Friends” represents the cream of what they are preparing to offer, CK and the Rising Tide are already prepared to take an important position in the genre today.

The same excellence coming across on Flach’s solo album Empty Mansions is every bit as present in this song. “Friends” benefits enormously from a fully integrated arrangement bringing together a small array of instruments into a stylish, seamless presentation. Blues and classic country musical influences are never contending for dominance in the track but complementing each other from the first and the band plays the style quite credibly. They stretch out a little longer and further than many bands of this persuasion usually attempt with a track running four and a half minutes long, but there’s never any sense of the band’s songwriting padding out what should be a much briefer tune. Instead, “Friends” comes across as quite natural at its length. C.K. and the Rising Tide sound like a group who have been playing together much longer than the facts allow – this is a popular line for praising many new units, but there’s no cliché or overstatement in this observation. Bringing equal parts feel and technique to bear without ever lapsing into self-indulgence is no small thing.

Flach’s singing brings a lot to the song as well. His vocal is obviously cut from a longstanding cloth in this type of music, but he distinguishes himself from the pack thanks to his phrasing talents. He definitely captures the classic lonesome whine of a great country singer but it’s streaked with deep strands of blue that the harmonica playing often counterpoints. It makes the lyrics even more effective without ever overstating his talents or the often poetic qualities of Flach’s words. This first single sets the bar impressively high for the band but C.K. and the Rising Tide’s “Friends” is so good that you can’t help but believe that their forthcoming studio album will be chock full of songs this good. “Friends” is an important achievement on the indie scene and is certain to propel this band to much deserved notoriety.

Lance Wright