The Flatlanders Add a Bit of Texas Twang to Bob Dylan’s ‘She Belongs to Me’ [Exclusive Premiere]
The Flatlanders -- Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock -- add a bit of Texas twang to a 50-plus-year-old Bob Dylan song with their cover of "She Belongs to Me." The brand-new recording is premiering exclusively via The Boot; press play below to listen.
Dylan originally released "She Belongs to Me" in 1965, on his Bringing It All Back Home album, though it's since been covered by everyone from the Flying Burrito Brothers to Tna Turner. The Flatlanders' rendition is a bit jauntier than the original; Ely praises Gilmore's delivery of the lyrics for their "mystical universal appeal."
"I loved this song the first time I heard it and have never grown tired of it. Although it is written from the male perspective, it touches upon the plight of a strong woman living in (what is still) a man’s world," Gilmore reflects. "Dylan was prescient in his understanding of so many of the dilemmas that have now become almost common knowledge. Butch, Joe and I have shared an appreciation of Dylan’s artistry and wit from the beginning, and after performing this for so many years, I am happy to finally have a recorded version of it on a Flatlanders release."
Adds Hancock, "Jimmie's voice and this song still echo the miles and smiles the Flatlanders have shared."
Listen to the Flatlanders' "She Belongs to Me":
"She Belongs to Me" appears on Treasure of Love, the Flatlanders' forthcoming new album, their first in more than a decade. The trio recorded the bones of project's 15 songs at Ely's own Spur Studios, located in Austin, Texas, before the COVID-19 pandemic, then enlisted legendary musician Lloyd Maines to help them finish the record, which Maines co-produced with Ely and his wife Sharon.
Treasure of Love combines select unreleased originals with favorites from throughout the Flatlanders years together -- Townes Van Zandt's "Snowin' on Raton" and "She Smiles Like a River" by Leon Russell, for example -- which stretch back to the early 1970s. Their most recent album is 2009's Hills & Valleys, though The Odessa Tapes, which features unreleased recordings from the trio's earliest sessions, arrived in 2012.
"The thing that's always struck me about the Flatlanders is that, first and foremost, it's a band rooted in friendship," says Gilmore. "Whenever the three of us get together, it all feels so fresh and exciting and unpredictable."
Between disbanding in 1973 and reuniting after the 1990 reissue of their original recordings, the Flatlanders each cultivated successful solo careers, which continue today. That success, Gilmore reasons, is what's kept them together as a trio.
"We're all such strange individualists," he says, "but we can co-captain this ship together because every time we come back to it, we feel that same magic we felt when we first started playing together."