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Hills and Valleys

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Audio CD, March 31, 2009
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$13.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 19 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

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Hills and Valleys + The Odessa Tapes + Now Again
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Editorial Reviews

The legendary Flatlanders -- Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock -- three of Texas most respected singer/songwriters, return with their new album Hills And Valleys. The three friends pooled their diverse, yet complimentary songwriting talents and co-wrote eight of the 13 tracks on the record, their first in 5 years, and only 4th studio album in 30 years. Hills And Valleys was produced by
Grammy Award winning producer Lloyd Maines (Dixie Chicks Home), who also appears on the album playing acoustic guitar, Dobro, pedal, steel and more.

The Flatlanders, known for their poetic lyrics and superior musicianship, do not disappoint on Hills And Valleys. The record kicks off with Homeland Refugee which Texas Music declares ...isn t just the best song ever recorded under the Flatlanders name; it could be the best song any of them have ever had a hand in writing, period a Woody Guthrie-worthy, state-of-the-nation elegy for the American Dream. Additional stand out tracks include After The Storm, Just About Time and Thank God For The Road.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Homeland Refugee 3:58$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Borderless Love 3:16$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. After The Storm 3:52$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Wishing For A Rainbow 4:21$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. No Way I'll Never Need You 3:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Just About Time 3:49$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Love's Own Chains 3:44$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Cry For Freedom 4:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. The Way We Are 3:12$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Thank God For The Road 5:00$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Free The Wind 3:08$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen12. Sowing On The Mountain 5:06$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen13. There's Never Been 4:30$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 31, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: New West Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,168 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. Jaber on March 31, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Like a fine wine, these guys just get better with age. Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely have always had a real talent for putting together excellent backup bands, and this album features some of their best, as usual. The quality of the production and playing here is superb. The poetic quality of their lyrics gets better with each passing year, and the liberal use of their "either/or, both/and" phrases make it signature Flatlanders. ("It goes without saying that I must say, some things are better left unsaid" -- reminds me of a verbal yin/yang symbol--nobody else has the creativity to do this and repeatedly get away with it with such style!)

While every track is outstanding in itself, there are three which, for me, make this record such an exceptional experience. "The Way We Are" is a fantastic rocker -- if you've got the blah's or life's just feeling too hard at the moment, crank this one up to full volume and dance around the room for three minutes, you're guaranteed to feel 100% better afterwards. (While Jimmie Dale Gilmore is normally known for his heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads, this man can rock!) And then "Free the Wind" is an exquisite hymn to the higher power and eternal truth behind it all. But then the one that finishes me off completely is "There's Never Been", the final track, sung with such power and beauty by Joe Ely. The harmonies and guitars are so subtle and moving, it'll break your heart wide open.

If this doesn't get a Grammy nomination, I'd be awfully surprised (but in what category??). The Flatlanders are in a category all their own. All Jimmie, Joe and Butch fans are in for a real treat with this one. I feel honored to be able to give it the first five star review (which, I'm sure, will be the first of many).
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By markfromphilly on April 16, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I have every solo Flatlanders album as well as all of their previous group efforts -- more than 30 in total. In my book, there are no better writers, singers, and players around. This album is full of gems from start to finish. The first song, Homeland Refuge, is simply ingenious. It tells the story of a family forced to leave California for the Dust Bowl after their home is foreclosed by, as Joe puts it, "the so-called Security and Trust." In two years of reading about the financial crisis I have never come across anything as insightful as the use here of "so-called". The re-invocation of Woody's Dust Bowl Refugees is clear. And speaking of Woody, this album's version of Sowing on the Mountain may be the best interpretaion I have ever heard of a song by the great man. It's hard to pick a favorite on this record but if I had to, I'd go with Thank God for the Road. Butch is at the top of his game. I'm not clever enough to describe how perfectly this song is constructed and delivered; you'll just have to listen. But I could say that about every other song as well. Cry for Freedom has the timeless quality of a Biblically-inspired spiritual that sounds instantly antique. Borderless Love should be a hit around the world if there is any justice. The variety of styles is wide-ranging: blues, folk, country, reggae-waltz (!); it's all here. Jimmie's voice remains as clear as a bell, almost holy, and Joe and Butch are like reliable old friends. In terms of the quality of the writing, I'll just say that listening to the Flatlanders is like attending a writing masterclass by some of the best wordsmiths on the planet. They make you think about and look at the world much differently. Highly recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Adrienne on April 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This record has had a strange effect on me. Usually I get fatigued from listening to any particular music too many times, but the opposite is true of Hills and Valleys. Some of the songs have a healing quality and a timelessness to them. Great music. My favorites are Borderless Love, Free The Wind, Love's Own Chains, Homeland Refugee, After The Storm, Thank God For The Road (best if heard while driving). I've heard many people say this is the Flat's best record yet. Hear them live if you get a chance.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Simon H Turner on May 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD
When the Flatlanders' original 1972 release was re-issued in 1991 it was given the title "More a Legend than a Band," a nod to the semi-mythical stature the recording had by then acquired. With their new CD "Hills and Valleys" the Lubbock-born threesome are now without question more a band than a legend. Moving beyond the mutually respectful collaborations of "Now Again" and "Wheels of Fortune," this is a true melding of the individual talents of Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. For the first time, the whole is clearly greater than the sum of its considerable parts.

The music still has the timeless quality which characterized previous Flatlanders efforts, but it's also now firmly rooted in present day realities. Two extraordinary songs anchor the CD. The opener, "Homeland Refugee," may be the finest and most moving commentary yet written on the current state of the American dream. It takes the story of 1930's depression-era migration from the dustbowl to California and turns it on its head. Job gone, family abandoned, and home repossessed by the "so-called Security and Trust," today's protagonist is now leaving California, where "the pastures of plenty burn by the sea," to return to the dustbowl. Weary, angry, and deeply compassionate, this is a song to be reckoned with, and one which Woody Guthrie would have understood only too well.

Complementing this is the penultimate cut, a propulsive, driving reworking of Woody Guthrie's own "Sowing on the Mountain" which picks up on the same apocalyptic end-of-days theme. Inevitably, "you're gonna reap just what you sow," and for a post-Katrina America, "there won't be water, be fire next time.
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