Time is on Flatt Lonesomes side

2016 IBMA winners, Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
Flatt Lonesome performs at the Raleigh Convention Center as part of the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass event

All six members of Flatt Lonesome are under 27 years old and the band itself is only five, but time doesn’t seem to be on their minds.”We’re still really enjoying this album,” said Kelsi Robertson Harrigill. “The feedback that we’ve gotten from it and the success of the album — and I say success because whether we win on Thursday night or not. It’s not why we play music.”There are six members of Flatt Lonesome: Kelsi Robertson Harrigill (mandolin), Buddy Robertson (guitar), and Charli Robertson (fiddle) were the original founding members of the band in 2011 along with their neighbor Dominic Illingworth (bass) and their longtime friend Michael Stockton (dobro) and then Paul Harrigill (banjo) joined at the beginning of 2012.In case you were wondering, Kelsi, Buddy and Charli are siblings and there is definitely something different and distinct about that harmony. To add to the family vibe, Kelsi and Paul are married.Their lives have been a whirlwind the past two years as everyone catches on to their music, and the title of their album, “Runaway Train,” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.In 2014 they picked up the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Emerging Artist of the Year Award. In August 2015 they made their Grand Ole Opry debut and have since become a frequent favorite, playing that hallowed stage seven times in a two-year period. The 2015 IBMA’s found them back in Raleigh and nominated for Vocal Group of the Year. This year, “Runaway Train” earned them a slew of nominations, and on Thursday night at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts they won Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year for “You’re the One,” and Album of the Year.During their acceptance speech for Album of the Year there were a few tears as they said, “Sorry, our parents are here.”In reflecting on our conversation from earlier in the week, Kelsi Robertson Harrigill discussed how home influences their music.”We were all brought up in Christian homes and have been brought up in church,” she said. “Paul’s father and my father are both pastors, and we appreciate, love and respect the way our parents raised us.” She laughed and then added, “On the other hand, we were raised with country music and I don’t drink and I haven’t ever killed a man, but I really like the songs that talk about that. I mean you can’t not like Johnny Cash.” A true statement, and Flatt Lonesome’s rendition of Cash’s “Jackson” is worth a listen.They have been called the band that bluegrass needs right now, and they seem to be settling into the wave that “Runaway Train” has brought with ease.”Bluegrass is a very close-knit family,” said Paul Harrigill. “We’re grateful to be where we are right now, doing what we’re doing.”