The Flatlanders formed in Lubbock, Texas, in the early 1970s. The group's recorded history has since become the stuff of legend.
Its first album came out only on 8-track back in 1973, with a proper release coming 18 years later under the appropriate title More a Legend Than a Band. The group's trio of songwriters -- Butch Hancock, Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore -- had garnered influential status individually before reconvening in 1998 to record music for the film The Horse Whisperer. A proper reunion album came in the form of 2002's Now Again; Wheels of Fortune followed in 2004.
With famed instrumentalist and producer Lloyd Maines at the helm, the group released Hills & Valleys in 2009. With their classic Texas sound intact throughout -- and with songs covering timely themes such immigration, financial strain and natural disaster -- The Flatlanders' members carry on with as much relevance today as they had when they first got together.
Mountain Stage pianist Bob Thompson performs an instrumental take on "St. Louis Blues" to close the segment.
This segment originally aired on October 13, 2009.
Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.