Country music has had its share of harmony driven vocal groups over the years but very few have been able to sing lead vocals seamlessly the way that One Flew South has managed. A vocally driven group in the purest form of the word, One Flew South consists of Royal Reed, Eddie Bush and Chris Roberts. Reed is the vocal dynamo with the high range while Bush is the guitar wizard and Roberts is the glue that holds the group together. Each member take turns singing lead vocals but more often than not the trio sing together a la Crosby, Stills and Nash.
The trio leads off their debut record with the title track “Last Of The Good Guys.” Hints of CSN and The Eagles are present on the track. Even before knowing who the songwriter was, I’d have guessed Marcus Hummon, because of the sharp songwriting and hook-filled chorus. A banjo and Bush’s stellar guitar (seriously, he is on par with Keith Urban and Brad Paisley) drive the song but they never get too much in the way of the vocals. Hummon not only wrote the song but he produced it as well. Written by Hummon with Andy Griggs and Darrell Scott, “My Kind of Beautiful” is the trio’s first single to try for airplay. It’s a nice introduction into the group for country radio but it’s not nearly as strong as other songs on the record.
One of my favorite tracks on the record is the Chris Roberts composition “Life.” It smacks so much of a Marcus Hummon song that I was genuinely surprised that he wasn’t a co-writer on the track. Nonetheless, the song has a joyful message with strong lyrics that are backed by the delicious harmonies. “She’s A Gift” is a classic country ballad written by the legendary JD Souther and Eddie Bush. The stunning lyric is sung with such honesty that Decca should really consider releasing this ballad to country radio.
Bush and Souther wrote another exercise in musical excellence with the stunning vocal ballad “Let The Day Carry You.” The Group ends their stunning debut record with Kevin Welch’s masterpiece “Too Old To Die Young.” Sung over just a cello and a fiddle, One Flew South shows off their vocal master class one last time.
It isn’t often that I get this excited about a new artist but as a fan of great harmony, I was hopeful for a great record and One Flew South teamed up with talented people (in Hummon and JD Souther) to create a remarkable debut record that needs to be heard.