CK and the Rising Tide – Friends
CK and the Rising Tide came together in 2017 and found their chemistry in the way the best examples of such things happen – as a happy accident. Likeminded musicians, as all artists do, often find each other and collaborate with impressive results, but it isn’t necessarily a given that you’ll connect with other creative people simpatico with your own vision. Singer/songwriter CK Flach’s first solo release following the dissolution of his previous band The Kindness, Empty Mansions, garnered considerable praise from many on the indie scene and for good reason – he came across on that collection as a songwriter with a rare eye for imagery and mixing the personal with the universal while still closely adhering to tradition. It’s a level of individuality we don’t customarily here. Instead of recording a follow up, however, CK Flach opted for working up band arrangements of the Empty Mansions material as a trio with himself on drums, Danny Boudreau on violin, and bassist Chris Brant. Flach’s brother Wayne soon rounded off the lineup by taking up the guitar duties and it proved the final necessary ingredient to light the band’s fuse. The first single from their forthcoming debut release, “Friends”, lays any doubts to rest about whether CK Flach made the right decision.
The most effective aspects of the song for me are C.K.’s vocals and lyric writing. The words for “Friends” veer between straight-forward conversational eloquence and other lines anchored by significant detail and evocative imagery. His chorus for the song mimics the band’s musical aesthetic in the way it gets its point across with a minimal amount of motion. His singing deals with the lyrics in a perfect way. The aforementioned chorus finds C.K. ramping his voice up with tasty restraint and hitting just the right dramatic note thanks to that decision. His artistry and power are just as apparent through the verses and the aural qualities of his voice, understated grit with a generous emotive talent, bring an added layer of conviction to the song’s performance.
Flack reveals himself to be a superb drummer with his deceptively simple approach to maintaining a shuffle beat and accentuating it at all the right times. The players sync up fluidly and there isn’t a single false step emerging from the performance or mix; the harmonica bobs in and out and makes a big impact on the song’s final value. There isn’t any self indulgence running through the musical presentation and everything is pared down to essentials with an ultimately powerful dramatic effect. C.K. and The Rising Tide’s first single “Friends” is a harbinger of greatness to come and has the easy going intimacy of four musicians making music together in the same room. Their upcoming album will definitely prove to be one of the best releases in the alt country/Americana genre in recent memory if it lives up to the promise heard from this song.