Flynnville Train - Redemption

After scoring a couple minor hits as part of Toby Keith's stable of artists on Show Dog Records, Flynnville Train returns with this album, the first release for the Next Evolution label.  Does the be band continue to rock out in the CD?

All four members of the band co-wrote the lead-off cut "Home", a foot-stompin' number about "all the simple things in life / I've taken for granted" that, unsurprisingly, to the old home. It may be very familiar turf, but at the same time, it's far from the annoyingly cliché mess it could've been. "Preachin' to the Choir" turns all of the "the little man is suffering" tropes on its head by saying that those who grouse about high gas prices, war, abuse and so forth are preaching to the choir — indeed, "there's a whole lot of stuff messed up / Can I get an amen" pretty much sums up how I feel about all the other complaints. Keeping in the religious theme, "Friend of Sinners" is a confessional song about all the Biblical laws that the singer's broken; with a simple request of " I'm asking for forgiveness / 'Cause I've been wrong / Am I too far gone? / Jesus, friend of sinners / Won't you lead me home?", the song cuts right to the bone lyrically, and builds up sonically to underscore its simple plea. 

"On Our Way" could easily be a lost track from a mellower end of a Confederate Railroad album, with its lyrical tales of that same musical dream so many acts have: first the bedrooms, then the dirty old bars, both played in hopes that "it'll all pay off." It's a pleasant assertation along the lines of Alan Jackson's "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow," which is high praise in my book. It's followed by the acoustic "33 Steps," which keeps along that theme by recalling the memories of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. 

If you need more cowbell, check out "Alright," a rowdy honky-tonk number that doesn't really have too much to say besides typical honky-tonk tropes, but it doesn't really need to. The split lead vocal here also adds a little more color to a rock-solid (and I do mean rock solid) cut. "Tip a Can" is also a rocked-up honky tonk raver that's a pleasant and fun ode to having a beer (or several) with your friends. At times, it brings to mind the rowdiness of The Kentucky Headhunters' early work, such as "Dumas Walker." Speaking of the Headhunters, Doug Phelps and Fred Young wrote "The One You Love." This song piles on the clichés rather thickly ("For everyone there's someone / For me there's only you / And every day without you / Is one more day you lose") but at least arranges them tightly and musically to make the song a pleasant listen. 

"Turn Left" caught my eye when I first saw the album, because I had no idea what the title would be about. Much to my surprise, it's a very listenable ode to racing that pits gritty guitar against sweet fiddle. The album's next cut is "Scratch Me Where I'm Itchin'," a Jeffrey Steele cowrite that has his style all over it. Here, the lyrics are maybe just a tiny bit misogynistic in their request for a woman to leave so she can be replaced with a more suitable type, but it's more playful than anything else. A cover of America's "Sandman" keeps the layered harmonies of the original while cranking up the guitars a bit louder and adding an electric sitar in a few spots. This song was a fine choice of a cover, and its length makes it a very apt closer. 

Redemption is an extremely tight, cohesive album. Although it has its rough edges, they're of the kind that enhance the sound rather than detract from it. Along the way, you'll find songs about redemption, good times, home, family, God and beer — all topics that are warmly familiar, but delivered with inspiration and energy. The album probably resonates best with people who like a more rock sound to their country, but even if your tastes run a little mellower than mine, you should easily find something good here.

You can support Flynnville Train by purchasing this album at Amazon.

You can also purchase the CD from the band's CD Baby page by clicking here.