The Cavalry is Here

By Kylie Smith

Lubbock has a reputation for producing talented musicians, with no sign of stopping that tradition soon.

Lubbock’s own Flatland Cavalry has earned a lot of praise over the past year, but this was no accident.

Cleto Cordero, Flatland Cavalry’s singer, songwriter and guitarist from Midland, Texas, said he wanted to go to school in a place where his music career could take off. With Lubbock’s history of famous entertainers, he decided Texas Tech University was the school for him.


From left: Band members Jason Albers, Reid Dillon, Jonathan Saenz, Cleto Cordero, Laura Houle. Picture by Charlie Stout.

Flatland Cavalry drummer Jason Albers, also from Midland, Texas, said he and Cordero met in middle school. They began playing their instruments around the same time and started making music together during their freshman year of high school.

Cordero always wanted to be in a rocking country band, and said it was fate when he and Albers met Laura Houle, Flatland Cavalry’s fiddler from Dallas, Texas, at a musician party.

Houle said she taught herself how to play the fiddle when she was 8-years-old. A neighbor in Colorado who played the fiddle piqued Houle’s interest in the instrument.

The three of them booked their first show at The Blue Light on June 4, 2014.

“We booked it three or four months in advance, so that we had to get a band together,” Cordero said.

Around this time the band recruited Reid Dillon, an electric guitarist from Farmersville, Texas. Dillon has been playing since his freshman year of high school.

When there were just two weeks left before the show, the band added Jonathan Saenz, their bass player from Lubbock, Texas. Saenz had to learn all of the band’s songs before their debut. He had started playing in sixth grade and had previous band experience, so it was not a problem. Saenz said from the first time he met the band, it felt like that was where he was supposed to be.

A lot has changed since. Exactly a year after their first show, on June 4, 2015, Flatland Cavalry signed with a booking agency, Atomic Music Group. Now, they are playing shows with big-time musicians, such as Aaron Watson and Kevin Fowler. Cordero even sang on West Texas Live with William Clark Green.

As a whole, the band has had many exciting experiences, from finding the mystery girl behind their song “No Shade of Green,” Allie Wentzel, to opening for the Josh Abbott Band in Roswell and playing in JAB Fest 2015.

The success of the band, in Saenz’s opinion, has a lot to do with how well they get along. He believes that having a woman in the band, instead of all guys, helps with this. All the members agree that when they travel for shows, it is like taking a road trip with your best friends while getting to do what you love. Houle even said the band is like her second family.

Although they cannot go on tour until everybody finishes school, they travel often to play shows. They sometimes play up to three shows a weekend, all in different cities. This weekend they will be playing at the Horny Toad Pub in Snyder, Texas, on Friday, and at Blaine’s Pub in San Angelo, Texas, on Saturday.

When they first began, Dillon and Albers did not expect the band to get so much attention. Now, after seeing their career take off, they hold high expectations.

“It’s almost like a small business, trying to get it to grow,” Albers said.

Houle, however, always had faith in the band. Her encouraging advice to fans: “If you think you’re called to do something, go do it.”

Cordero offered similar advice.

“Whatever you want to do, you can do it,” he said. “You’ve just got to work hard. I think everyone’s dreams are obtainable unless it’s dating a supermodel. They say chase your dreams as long as your dream is not a person because that’s called stalking.”

The band members said they are looking forward to long and satisfying performance careers.

“I want to play out music for as long as I can, as long as it’s good, honest music,” Cordero said. “If the quality ever stops, then I’ll hang it up. I really think that’s what I was put here to be, so I’m just going to go as long as I can.”

The band’s new album, scheduled to release in April, is heavy-hitting and will impress fans, Saenz said. It even has a few band favorites to look forward to, such as “Devil on my Back” and “February Snow,” the album’s first single.

If you haven’t had a chance to see Flatland Cavalry live for yourself, check them out at The Office Grill and Sports Bar on Thursday, Nov. 19, when they will be opening for Kyle Park. This will be their last Lubbock performance for 2015.

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