Sunday night is always dicey for concert attendance. You’ve got the work week ahead, and maybe don’t want to expend too much hedonistic energy (and already have, on Friday and Saturday). On the other hand, maybe you need the adrenaline kick of a memorably kinetic show to propel you through to May and a genuine Minnesota spring.
It so happens that there is a gig this Sunday that can satisfy either circumstance. Round about 7 p.m., the Flatlanders will take the stage at the intimate Varsity Theater over in Dinkytown. This trio of weathered, wizened Texas singer-songwriters has just uncorked its best record, “Hills and Valleys,” brimming with songs that are both topical and timeless. Writing mostly together, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock deliver incisive takes on the modern recession/depression (“Homeland Refugee”) and post Katrina (“After the Storm”), creatively conflate the entanglements of romance and immigration (“Borderless Love”) and offer up a sublime cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Sowing on the Mountain.”
The music is a platter of TexMex crawfish, with doses of New Orleans, Austin, El Paso and south-of-the-border cantinas suffusing the mix. These are songwriters accomplished enough to get away with titles like “Free the Wind” and “Thank God for the Road,” turning both into gentle anthems via the depth of their experience and the restraint of their expression. It is relaxed, cerebral sustenance for the working man’s week ahead.
The Flatlanders at the Varsity Theater, Sunday, April 26, 7 p.m., $26 in advance, $28 day of show.