Artist - Flatland Cavalry 6 - Ryman Debut
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A Sold-Out Crowd for Flatland Cavalry’s Debut Headlining Show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium

February 13, 2024 7:14 pm GMT

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Flatland Cavalry’s Wandering Star 2024 Tour stopped at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Saturday night (February 10). It was a special night for the Lubbock, TX band as each member had family in the audience to witness their first time headlining the hallowed venue.

It was also a memorable night for opener Colby Acuff, who was playing the Ryman for the first time. As a former flyfishing guide from Idaho, Acuff performed songs that stayed true to his roots and included detailed characters from his life, including crowd favorite ‘Dying Breed’.

Acuff brought the crowd both to their feet and to tears when he shared that when making his third album two years ago, he needed a loan from his parents and told them his three-year plan was to make both his Opry and Ryman debuts. His performance was especially sentimental because, while that dream came true, tragically, his parents couldn’t be in the audience as his father passed away just a day prior, making for an emotional performance of his song ‘American Son’.

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Flatland Cavalry make their Ryman Auditorium headlining debut on February 10, 2024.

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Flatland Cavalry make their Ryman Auditorium headlining debut on February 10, 2024.

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Flatland Cavalry make their Ryman Auditorium headlining debut on February 10, 2024.

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Flatland Cavalry make their Ryman Auditorium headlining debut on February 10, 2024.

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Flatland Cavalry make their Ryman Auditorium headlining debut on February 10, 2024.

The mark of a truly amazing show, from the moment Flatland Cavalry took the stage—designed as a replica of the Wandering Star album cover, complete with a shooting star and large rotating windmill—the audience’s energy stayed just as high from the first words of the band’s 20-song set to the very last line of their multi-song encore.

The crowd raised a collective drink during ‘Gettin’ By’ from their 2021 record, Welcome To Countryland, and sang along to favorites from their most recent LP and the tour's namesake, including ‘Oughta See You (The Way I Do)’, ‘Last American Summer’, ‘Mornings With You’, ‘Don't Have To Do This Like That’ and more.

Lead singer Cleto Cordero introed ‘Country Is’ by sharing that he was once told by someone at a show that he “wasn’t as country” as he thought he was—citing his “too tight” pants as one of the reasons—leading to the song and its lyrics “Country is what country means to you". Keeping with the theme of embracing country roots, the band covered John Denver’s ‘Thank God I’m a Country Boy’ before playing their songs that have been featured in hit TV shows and movies, including 'Mountain Song' heard on Yellowstone and ‘Wool’ from the most recent Hunger Games soundtrack.

Cordero took the stage solo with his acoustic guitar for what he referred to as “Cleto’s Sad Boy Hour”. Playing stripped-down versions of ‘If We Said Goodbye’ and ‘Forgotten’, he even had the crowd use their cell phone lights to “add some constellations” to ‘Sleeping Alone’, bringing the song's lyrics to life.

The show included their take on a series of covers songs, including a tribute to the recently deceased Toby Keith with 'Should’ve Been A Cowboy' and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide’, which Cordero explained was a song he’d often played at a restaurant when he was starting out because it got patrons to “drop their forks” and listen.

The shining moment of the night was when Cordero’s wife and fellow artist, Kaitlin Butts, made a surprise appearance for a moving performance of ‘A Life Where We Work Out’. Making it even more special, producer Scott Faris, who has known the band since the beginning and even married Kaitlin and Cleto, presented the band and Butts with a plaque announcing the song had officially been certified Gold by the RIAA.

Closing out the show with Cordero on the tambourine for ‘The Provider’, the band returned by the crowd’s demand for a multi-song encore, which included ‘Humble Folks’ and ‘Stompin' Grounds’.

Even if you walked into the Ryman that night without ever previously hearing a note of a Flatland Cavalry song, it was impossible to leave without falling in love with the magnetic energy of the band.

The music on its own was enough to convert a new fan, but the band’s delivery, storytelling and connection to the audience had the Ryman captivated from the first note to the very last.

Flatland Cavalry - Setlist

Take from their concert at the Ryman Auditroium, Nashville - Saturday, February 10th 2024:

  • Oughta See You (The Way I Do)
  • Last American Summer
  • Gettin’ By
  • Don't Have To Do This Like That
  • Damaged Goods
  • Country Is…
  • Thank God I’m a Country Boy (John Denver cover)
  • Mountain Song
  • Mornings With You
  • No Shade of Green
  • Wool
  • If We Said Goodbye
  • Forgotten
  • Sleeping Alone
  • Spinnin’
  • One I Want
  • Should’ve Been A Cowboy (Toby Keith cover)
  • Landslide (Fleetwood Mac cover)
  • A Life Where We Work Out
  • The Provider

Encore:

  • Humble Folks
  • Stompin' Grounds

For more on Flatland Cavalry, see below:

All photos by Fernando Garcia.

Written by Lisa Valentine
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