CK and the Rising Tide – Friends
“Friends” is the first single from CK and the Rising Tide’s soon to drop debut album and it heralds the arrival of an important new band on the alt-country/indie scene. The mix of CK Flach’s impressive songwriting with musical contributions from Danny Boudreau’s violin and keyboards, Wayne Flach’s guitar playing, and bassist Chris Brant’s virtuosity fully realizes the talent present on CK’s earlier solo effort Empty Mansions. Instead of taking a side step or diversion, CK Flach has opted to further open the sound for his songs by bringing these additional musicians into the picture and the four of them frame “Friends” in satisfying colors. The vividness of the performance hints at even greater songs in store on their first album. This is a powerful and unique effort that gets under the skin from the first listen onward.
It has the singular grace and immediacy of a band cutting the song live in the same room. The two instruments emerging most strongly from the mix on a first listen turns out to be Flach’s drumming and some excellent harmonica playing. The latter instrument never oversteps its purview and brings some vivid color to the performance. The song has a brisk tempo that keeps a steady pace and Flach’s percussion sets the tone for its shuffle style from early on, but the band performance as a whole is outstanding that plays to the song’s strengths rather than working as an exercise in ego. It’s refreshing to hear how expertly C.K. Flach and his band mates marry traditional strengths with their own personal voice and undeniable chemistry powering everything from the first note on. The song runs just a hair under four and a half minutes long but never wastes a second of the listener’s time.
Flach’s reputation for creative lyrics will continue thanks to the superb writing that makes “Friends” stand out from similar efforts in this style. As fine as the lyrics are, however, the crowning effect they exert over the listeners as largely due to Flach’s memorable singing. He invests every line, particularly the chorus, with layers of meaning that come across with a steady sense of their possibilities without ever dictating what they should mean to the audience. The blending of universal and personal is the stuff of great songwriters and having material this strong marking their musical efforts shapes them up to be quite unlike any other solo or band act working in this style today. C.K. Flach and The Rising Tide’s “Friends” show more than tremendous promise with their first single – they show a band who is already coming forward with a complete musical vision they’ll only refine and evolve from this point onward. It’s a bracing experience to hear a creative unit this vibrant and creatively satisfying in a genre where far too many acts and artists are content to play it safe or purist.