Guitars sizzle with just the slightest bit of electrified overdrive in “In Another World.” A gentle string section dances around us in a simple strut in “John R. Brinkley.” Melodies rumble with a menacing melodicism in “Wings of a Rumor.” “Beauty Amongst the Trees” calls out to us with its unrealized catharsis just as “Every Dog Has Its Day” sways to the beat of a quaking country groove. Flat River Band flirt with powerful, tension-churning balladry in “Devil on the Side” and bittersweet poetry in “No Hill for a Climber,” and no matter what track we’re listening to on their 2019 epic Every Dog Has Its Day, they reintroduce us to a one of a kind charisma that has been setting their sound apart from the mainstream end of country music for over ten years now. In this latest LP, Flat River band don’t hold anything back from us lyrically or instrumentally, and while most of the songs on Every Dog Has Its Day have a somewhat softer sensibility than I was initially expecting them to, they’re far from underwhelming by any critical measurement.
There’s a lot of attention to detail in this master mix, and I couldn’t help but notice the intricate texture in the music right from the moment I sat down with the record for the first time just recently. “In Another World” and the title track have some seriously smoky string parts that glare at us more than they gleam, and despite the tightness of the production style, we never feel suffocated by the overwhelming amount of detail swirling around us in a juggernaut force. “John R. Brinkley,” “Devil on the Side” and “Wings of a Rumor” are boldly colorful but aren’t so robust in their construction that they minimize the emotionality of the other songs here at all, and I think that, in the grander scheme of things, Every Dog Has Its Day could end up being regarded as one of the more streamlined and well-thought out records this group has released since their formation. They’re clearly putting a lot of planning into their work here, but one thing that they’re not doing is overthinking a proven recipe for success.
Country fans young and old alike can’t beat Every Dog Has Its Day this January, and while the album originally debuted last summer, it has the look and feel of what I would describe as one of the first really important country music listens of the year 2020. There are a lot of groups, and among veteran Nashville acts especially, that are essentially trying to accomplish the same things Flat River Band are at the moment, and despite the similarities you could potentially draw between their latest record and the ongoing Americana revivalist movement, I don’t think that Every Dog Has Its Day is the product of some larger movement within the group’s chosen genre at all. On the contrary, this sounds like something that was made in the hearts of its creators which, as unfortunate as it truly is, is something that makes its tracklist really standout nowadays.