Real, Honest, Red Clay Roots Music. They were raised on it, lived it, believe in it. They all grew up in the rural south and now are based out of Waxhaw, NC.
One evening in 2013, a local cover band was playing an outdoor show at the water tower in the small town of Waxhaw, NC. It may have been serendipity, blind luck, or just a coincidence that guided Billy Bost, Rachel Garcia, Frank Sutton, Joe Williams, and Kevin Winchester to that show. But that evening, all five of them eventually found themselves standing near the water tower, listening to the other band. Something brought them to that specific time and moment in space. They’d all known of each other for years from playing in other area projects, but had never worked together. A week later, that changed when the first Flatland Tourists rehearsal took place. It didn’t take long before they all knew they’d found something special. They focused on writing songs, building harmonies, tightening the band.
Within a few months, they were playing gigs at Americana venues in the Charlotte area. More shows followed, the fan base grew. Mark Williams, Grammy winning producer and engineer (REM, Southern Culture on the Skids, Hootie & the Blowfish) heard them at a show in Charlotte and they soon agreed on his involvement as producer of their first EP. Little King Records released their self-titled debut in 2014. The EP spent 12 weeks in the Roots Music Report Americana Chart Top Ten with the single “No Work, No Pay” rising as high as #2 and staying in the Top Ten Singles chart for 16 weeks, and the single “Cold Water River” rising as high as #3 and staying in the Top Ten Singles chart for 10 weeks. Since then, the band has expanded their venues beyond the Charlotte area; they’ve played opening support for national acts such as Shovels and Rope, and have appeared at festivals throughout the region like Tennessee’s Summer Solstice Festival and the National Whitewater Center’s River Jam. Affirming their rise in the genre and popularity in the area, they were nominated and chosen as the winners in the Americana Category for a 2015 Carolinas Music Award.
Their songs are honest and real. Their live shows are just that—lively, and everybody leaves happy and smiling. Yes, their music reflects a wide range of influences: country, blues, bluegrass, jam, early rock, even jazz elements. One common thread is evident through all their influences, though, and that’s the band’s connection to American roots music. It’s the music their parents and grandparents sang to them, played for them, and later, with them. It’s evident in their musicianship, the way they blend their harmonies, and even in their song-writing. This band is not a collective of musicians playing Americana music—they’ve lived it. It’s a sound born in their blood and bone, you know that as soon as you hear their first notes, the minute you see them on stage.