In January of 1972, The Flatlanders, comprised of Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock, traveled to Tommy Allsup’s Odessa, TX, recording studio. The 14 songs recorded arguably marked the birth of alternative country music. After playing some gigs, recording a promotional single of “Dallas,” and performing at the Kerrville Music Festival, the group broke up in 1973 as they began to pursue solo careers. The Flatlanders re-grouped in the 1980s for a reunion at the Kerrville Music Festival. They garnered a surprisingly strong posthumous reputation for a band with no records (other than a promo single) released and barely played outside of Lubbock. In 1991, Rounder Records issued the 1972 sessions “More a Legend than a Band.” Joe, Jimmie Dale, and Butch continued to reunite for occasional Flatlander performances. In 1998, they contributed to the soundtrack of “The Horse Whisperer.” 2002 they released their follow-up album, “Now Again,” on New West Records. In 2004, they released “Wheels of Fortune” and “Live ‘72”, a live recording of the then-unknown country band performing at a honky-tonk in Austin. The Flatlanders appeared in the 2005 film, “Lubbock Lights.” In 2009, they released the “Hills and Valleys” album and appeared as musical guests on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” In 2012, the Flatlanders released “The Odessa Tapes,” an album of previously unreleased recordings from the 1972 recording sessions. The Flatlanders were voted into the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame in March 2016. Joe, Jimmie Dale, and Butch have all been inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame for their solo careers.
The Flatlanders were inducted into the West Texas of Fame in 2016.