C.K. and the Rising Tide Plays in Kingston on Saturday | Music | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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C.K. and the Rising Tide Plays in Kingston on Saturday 

click to enlarge C.K. & the Rising Tide
  • C.K. & the Rising Tide
When was the last time you drove through the village of Ravena, New York? A wide patch along Route 9W on the way to or from Albany—should you decide to venture off the Thruway—it’s a mercilessly quiet spot. With a population of just over 3,000, Ravena has as its largest local employer a cement factory, and its proudest claim to fame is the Babe Ruth League champion title its youth team won in 2007. Not exactly the kind of place you’d expect to produce a highly literate and deeply introspective singer-songwriter whose music has been hailed by outlets as diverse as No Depression and the Huffington Post. And yet sleepy little Ravena has given us just such an artist: Curtis “C.K.” Flach, whose band, C.K. and the Rising Tide, performs at the Beverly Lounge in Kingston on February 22.

“Yeah, I grew up out in the woods,” Flach recollects. “But I’ve always been kind of a quiet person, and having that solace made me more thoughtful and prepared for being a songwriter. I read a lot—Steinbeck, Kerouac, Bukowski. I learned about making music by playing the drums in the band at my family’s church.”

Recently out is Perfect Stranger, the group’s third album of earnestly stirring Americana—well, second, if you want to get technical about it. After the outfit he’d drummed in, the Kindness, dissolved, Flach debuted under his own name with 2016’s Empty Mansions, playing drums as well as signing on the sessions. Having “polished up” on guitar, he enlisted a few musician friends to showcase the album’s songs live; the simpatico collective soon solidified into a working collaborative, and C.K. and the Rising Tide was born. The 2017 sophomore set, American Romance, came quickly and began bringing the band attention, due in large part to the leader’s distinctively smoky baritone and heartfelt songs, whose vivid storytelling he likens to film soundtracks.

“I’ve always related the most to songs that I’ve heard that later pop in my head and reflect whatever I’m experiencing in a particular moment, kind of like how a movie director will chose a specific song to play during a specific scene in a movie,” says Flach, who cites Bruce Springsteen, Connor Oberst, Ian Felice, and Big Country’s Stuart Adamson as influential songwriters. “I try to write songs that reflect the full spectrum of human emotion.” A succinct example of the 28-year-old tunesmith’s emotionally complex themes Perfect Stranger’s lead single, “Follow the Buzzards,” which intersperses the foreboding imagery of building storms and circling predators with a resolve to hold onto what’s right and true.

In addition to being a musician Flach is also a poet and aspiring novelist who published a collection of his writings (Division Street, 2016). Surprisingly, though, it wasn’t music or literature that he studied in college, but, rather, engineering. And how has that helped him with his exploding music career?

“One of my professors once told me, ‘You’re only so many solved problems away from success’,” he recalls. “So that’s something I take with me on stage, every night we play.” C.K. & the Rising Tide will perform with Allison Olender and William Lawrence at the Beverly Lounge in Kingston on February 22 at 7pm. Tickets are $10. http://thebeverlylounge.com/

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