Album Review: Erik Dylan’s ‘Heart Of A Flatland Boy’ Connects With Blue Collar America

Erik Dylan

Photo credit: Glen Rose

If you follow us regularly, you already know that we are fans of talented singer/songwriter Erik Dylan.  With his second album, Heart Of a Flatland Boy, out today, we are excited for the world to hear the latest in a long line of great music.

Dylan’s music is published by Cornman Music/Warner Chappell, Brett James’ publishing company in Nashville. He’s found success with cuts by Kip Moore, Chad Brownlee, Eric Paslay, Justin Moore, Thompson Square, Eli Young Band, Brent Cobb, and the rock band Hinder, to name a few. Dylan, a Kansas native, stays true to his roots and is focused on the story behind the song and really painting a picture for the listener. We sat down with Dylan recently and he explained that he wanted the people he grew up with, blue collar Americans, to “hear the record and know that I was doing them justice.”

This new album, Heart Of a Flatland Boy, is definitely more on the edgier side than his self-titled EP. The project was produced by Dylan, Randy Montana and Paul Cossette. “This album is 100% organic,” Dylan says. “No fluff. No bullshit. I played guitar and tracked vocals live with the band in the studio and I truly love what happened. It’s not perfect—and I didn’t want it to be perfect. I wanted it to be me.”

erik dylan heart of a flatland boy

You may recognize some fan favorites on the album as well.  Songs such as “The Good Life,” “Fishing Alone,” and “Map Dot Town” have long been favorites at Erik Dylan shows and have been revamped for the new album. These songs are so relatable to life experiences and really strike a chord. You can’t help but be moved by the lyrics in “Fishing Alone,” which Dylan wrote with Doug Waterman after the death of his grandfather.

“Lord there ain’t no crystal ball / ain’t no writing on the wall / next thing you know something’s wrong / you get the news / you drop the phone / and you’re fishing all alone”

The first track, “Flatland Boy,” written with Randy Montana and Andrew DeRoberts, aptly describes Dylan’s life growing up in rural Kansas. There were no fancy cars, lavish parties or extra luxuries, many worked on farms or in factories. The song gets to the heart of what life as a flatland boy was like for him and many others growing up.

Track seven, “Astronaut,” written with frequent co-writers and friends, Randy Montana and Driver Williams (of the Eric Church Band), has an upbeat edgy american rock vibe to it.

“Sick of sweatin’ in the summer heat just to buy cheap beer and gasoline / rattlesnake rowdy / cottonmouth mean / with a Copenhagen habit and a G.E.D.”

One of the slower songs, “Girl That Got Away,” written with Westin Davis and Jake Mitchell, is a stripped down ballad paying homage to the feeling of love lost, describing through its lyrics the feeling of emptiness and utter loneliness that ensues after a breakup.

“Ever felt that rush in the headlight shine / a dirt road drag strip Friday night / to a checkered flag to junkyard parts /

 you tasted the dust of a faster car / if you know that feeling / if you felt that sting / well, then you know that girl / that girl that got away”

We caught up with Dylan last year to talk about him staying true to his roots and what’s important to him regarding this songwriting. In that interview, he told us, “It’s not all about the party or the meeting the girl or the one night stand that I wanna hear about, I wanna hear about the rest of the story. That’s what I love about country too,” he says. “I love those stories that make the day job that you might not love have purpose. Like we don’t wanna work at a factory, I mean maybe it’s a dirty job and that’s just how you feed your family, but when you hear a song on the radio that takes a guy or a girl that works in a place like that and makes them feel like they’re doing something with purpose, that’s what I’d like to write.”

Bottom line, Erik Dylan has definitely grown as an artist and songwriter and we think you will enjoy this new taste of his music.

“Heart Of A Flatland Boy” is available on iTunes now.

Follow Erik on Twitter, Instagram, and his website.