50 Years Late and Right on Time, Folk Band “Flight” Takes Off
Foraging is about searching for something, oftentimes with no idea what for. It was an act of foraging that brought me to the Michigan-based folk rock quartet Flight, to listen to their long lost LP “I’m Coming Home,” finally getting a proper release 50 years after its original recording.
I didn’t know Flight. I had no idea what I was in for, and for me, that’s the best way to experience art: no preconceived notions, no expectations, no bias. Only driven by curiosity.
It’s hard to ever achieve that with the world’s noise (and with our fear of wasting time), but I’m always rewarded when I happen upon those scenarios. This was no different.
“I’m Coming Home” is a glimpse into the past and an invitation to return to 1971, to discover there’s a direct link from then to now. Indeed, we are always coming home, and Flight offers us a second chance at being the type of men the world needed back then and didn’t receive.
Because the world’s still waiting.
Flight’s lyrics are melancholy, soulful, honest in a way only a lovesick teenager can be. “Why are we so far away…?” lead vocalists Phil Stancil and Doug Slater wonder and I spend most afternoons wondering the same thing.
“I’m Coming Home” is full of that feeling: love songs, breakup songs, wistful dreamy sadness. It’s an album that pines for connection, yearning for a love and a world that doesn’t exist anymore and never really did… but why can’t it? Where there’s wonder, there’s hope.
And Flight’s full of it, even, no, especially when the album is about four young men coming to the realization we all do as young people: living life is full of pain. But it’s also the only way to feel anything, to live. After all, “darkness makes the light seem brighter.”
Yes, at times, Flight feels almost too lovelorn, too nostalgic, self-absorbed in a way only teenagers are. But that’s also authentic, true, and there’s awareness. Not only do Doug and Phil admit to “Chasing Rainbows” in a song of the same name, but they are already tired of the chase. And they recorded this when Phil was in high school and Doug had just graduated. Imagine how tired teenagers are today.
Flight concludes “there is no better way that I can try” than chasing rainbows. They sing themselves into emotional knots and as a listener, I follow suit, agreeing and disagreeing depending on how the song hits me in the moment.
On “Songs for the Road,” an adventurous road ballad, a song about our primordial dreams of escape, we’re allowed an exhale: “Let the world worry about the world for a little while, someone else can care instead of me.” I feel this so precisely whenever I travel, whenever I lose myself in words, but it’s always fleeting: I often can’t help but recognize the privilege and abdication of responsibility inherent in that. It’s so hard to ever be free because almost always someone else is paying the price.
“For You Forever” wanders further: Phil, Doug, et al are trying to figure out how to say I love you, they’re trying to figure out how to even express love. How to help and bring love into the world with their art. This is what I’ve struggled with all my life and it’s normally only succeeded in stopping me from trying. Watching another sunset, another day gone by. Another wasted opportunity. “A haunting memory only I can hear.”
But now we all can, thanks to Forager Records’ restoration.
As the back of the record states, 1971 was “a time when young men felt emboldened to abandon machismo and explore feelings of heartbreak, longing, alienation and love in music.”
Now that Flight’s finally coming home, finally taking flight, it’s clear we’re meant to wonder, to ask: Are we finally back there again? Can young men eradicate toxic masculinity and be brave enough to explore and share their feelings?
After “I’m Coming Home,” I’m a little more hopeful about the answer to those questions, thrilled by the act of discovery, the goal behind every good forage.
Flight’s “I’m Coming Home” LP can be ordered here.