On a picturesque August night in Nashville, a sold out crowd was treated to a simply stunning performance from one of country music's newest and brightest stars in the making: Wyatt Flores.
All photos by Lily Nelson
The current trend in country music is uncut and underproduced singer-songwriters and the 22-year-old Oklahoman is taking that energy to a whole new level.
Bringing some of the best charms that the genre has to offer, including a tight six-piece band backing him that's just about as talented as he is, Flores turns every song into a full-on barn dance. Laying the southern screech of fiddles and steel guitar on thick, his raspy growl carries each pitch perfect note with a pinpoint conviction that's reminiscent of some of the genre's current movers and shakers, such as Zach Bryan, Charles Wesley Godwin and Tyler Childers.
At such a young age and with an already impressive following, he's in pretty good company as he will be joining Godwin later this year as support on a handful of shows.
Across his nearly two-dozen song set, Flores concocted a scrumptious blend of down home, unapologetically country instrumentation with his gut wrenching yet easily screamable lyrics, which the Nashville crowd couldn't get enough of.
In fact, judging by the energy in the room, you would have never known that he only has eleven songs available for consumption on your favorite streaming service.
From the rambling anthem of 'Travelin' Kid,' the heavy rocker of 'Break My Bones' and his newest release, 'Holes,' the crowd was fully rapt and dialed in to every word out of the young man's mouth, and they were more than happy to lend their own voices, too.
While also providing a healthy heaping of unreleased tunes in the form of the upbeat yet lonesome 'Wildcat,' the chilling 'Astronaut,' the carpe diem sentiment of 'Running Out of Time' and plenty of others, the highlight of the night came with Flores' biggest hit to date, 'Please Don't Go.'
A stirring second place preceded it, though, as he performed a countrified version of The Fray's moving 2000's ballad, 'How To Save A Life,' which he announced will be available on Amazon Music on Sept. 14.
“The reason I chose this song is because I recently lost my grandfather to suicide," he shared with the crowd. "I just want y’all to know that my life on camera looks like it’s absolutely perfect, but I’m an every day human being and we struggle through the same things. We all do and that’s the main point. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. We’re all broken people at the end of the day. There’s people that’ll always love you and don’t think that they won’t.”
If only for one beautiful moment, the power and comfort that music provides was tangible at the Basement East, reminding everyone to hug each other a little tighter and sing the words a little louder.
Flores took the Nashville audience through 21 songs, but we here at Holler are willing to bet you'll only need about two to be completely smitten with this burgeoning entertainer that fits somewhere between the foothills of Appalachia and the heart of Texas.
If you don't know Wyatt Flores' name yet, you will soon. And we recommend you keep an eye (and an ear) out for him... You can thank us later.
Wyatt Flores - Setlist
Taken from his set at the Basement East in Nashville, TN on Thursday, August 31st 2023:
For more on Wyatt Flores, see below: