Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Inner Views of Kelsi Robertson-Harrigill

"I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I and Thou heardest my voice."  Jonah 2:2  (KJV)

It is no secret how much I love the high lonesome sound of bluegrass.  Some of my happiest childhood memories are surrounded by singing and playing music with Mom, Dad, and other family members, as Dad played his five-string banjo.  To this day, bluegrass serves as a bridge to take me back to those precious times—especially when I am missing Mom, Dad, and other loved ones who are now resting in the arms of Jesus.  One of the current groups that so expertly captures that deeply soulful, comforting, authentic bluegrass sound is Flatt Lonesome.  Their tight family harmony and skillful instrumental abilities are a gift to modern bluegrass  My family and I were blessed to recently attend one of their concerts and catch up with them afterward to secure an interview with one of their members.  I am so blessed and grateful to be able to share it with you today!


The 
of Flatt Lonesome Vocalist & Mandolin Player,
Kelsi Robertson-Harrigill

Cheryl:  Please tell us about yourself and the people who make up the band, Flatt Lonesome. 

Kelsi:  Flatt Lonesome is made up of myself (mandolin) along with my siblings, Buddy (guitar) and Charli (fiddle) Robertson. Along with us, we have my husband, Paul (banjo), and our close friends, Michael Stockton (dobro) and Dominic Illingworth (bass). 

We started the band in February of 2011 after my parents had to step away from our family band, Sandy Creek Revival. My dad is a pastor and had to slow down to be with our church.

Cheryl:  We would love to hear your Christian testimony.  When did you become a Christian?  What life events led you to the cross?

Kelsi:  I was saved on November 23, 1999. I was nine years old and I was saved after church on a Sunday night. My dad led me to the Lord.

Cheryl:  What was life like growing up as a preacher's kid?

Kelsi:  Life as a preacher’s kid, for me, was wonderful! You hear horror stories of PK’s and how they grow up with a nonexistent father, or how they’re rebellious, etc. However, my father was very much present. We were his first priority and he made sure we knew that. He did not put us on a pedestal for which other people could compare their children, which saved us from much affliction. I grew up loving church and everything associated with it and I still do.

Cheryl:  Looking back over your life thus far, what do you identify as being a dark season?  How did your faith in God sustain and help you through?

Kelsi:  God has blessed me with a wonderful life, but from about age 22-24, I dealt with crippling anxiety. I went from extrovert to introvert, from confident to stand-off-ish. I woke up every morning dreading the day, scared, worried…I was not myself for a very long time. I prayed and prayed for God to take the anxiety away from me and He never did. It took my dad reminding me that God never told us he would take away our burdens, only that He would carry them with us, for me to realize that I needed help. So, I started on a long journey of self-help, help from a doctor who wasn’t only book smart, but Bible smart. I learned the hard way that you have to be willing to help yourself if you want God to help you too. And He did just that. God kept his promises, as He always does and brought me from the darkest valley in my life. I still deal with anxiety, but the bouts of it are fewer and farther between and I now have the knowledge to get through those times. God is good.

Cheryl:  Please share with us about the span of time your parents, your siblings, and you sang together as the group, "Sandy Creek Revival.”

Kelsi:  Our family sang together as Sandy Creek Revival for 5-6 years, I think. It was mostly churches and family gatherings. It was a great time in our lives, full of great memories!

Cheryl:  Please tell us about your favorite parts of the recording projects of Flatt Lonesome.  

Kelsi:  The best thing about recording as a band is watching how an album came from a mere concept to a full, cohesive album that we put our whole hearts into!

Cheryl:  We have been so blessed by the song you wrote, "In the Heat of the Fire."  Can you tell us the story behind the song?

Kelsi:  I wrote, “In the Heat of the Fire” during the difficult years of anxiety. I would sit on our balcony at our apartment alone, with my Bible and a guitar and read and sing any song that I could think of to give me hope (it’s funny how in times of need, the secular songs don’t seem so great anymore). The doctor who was helping me at the time instructed me to read through the book of Psalms and as I read through that book I underlined every single time God said that he “hears” us, or “heard” us. I NEEDED to know that God was hearing me because at the time I didn’t feel like He was and I was desperate. During these times of reading and singing is when I wrote this song.


In the Heat of the Fire ~ Flatt Lonesome (written by Kelsi Robertson-Harrigill)

Cheryl:  As a songwriter, how do you find inspiration?  Is there a particular place you like to go to write?

Kelsi:  I will write anytime and anywhere, as soon as I think of a lyric. If I don’t I will forget it! However, I find I write best when I am alone.

Cheryl:  Are there other members of Flatt Lonesome who are songwriters?

Kelsi:  As of right now, just Paul and me. 

Cheryl:  How did you and Paul meet?  We would love to hear your love story!

Kelsi:  Paul and I met in Nashville, TN! We actually met for the first time at IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) and never spoke again until we saw each other again at SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America), and then he asked Buddy for my number (how he got it, I’m not sure?!). 



Kelsi, performing with Flatt Lonesome on the Grand Ole Opry

We started talking over the phone and visiting each other when we could (he lived in NC at the time, and I lived in FL). We ended up dating for 6 months before we were engaged. Got married 9 months later and now we have been married for 6 years and have a one-year-old son!


Paul, Carter, & Kelsi

Cheryl:  How has becoming a mother enriched your life?

Kelsi:  Being a mother has shown me just how much you can actually love someone. I love teaching Carter and watching him learn those things! 

Cheryl:  What is life like for you being on the road? 

Kelsi:  One word — NUTS! :)

Cheryl:  What advice would you most like to give to wives and mothers who wear many hats and struggle to find a sense of balance?

Kelsi:  My advice is that you cannot please everyone, but you can please God. So, when life gets hard and you feel like you’re hanging by a thread, choose God first and everything else will fall into place…and when your husband offers for you to go get your nails done — DO IT!!


Kelsi & Carter

Cheryl:  Growing up, who were your strongest musical influences?  

Kelsi:  Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Merle Haggard, Tony Rice, Danny Roberts

Cheryl:  When did you begin playing the mandolin?  

Kelsi:  I started playing mandolin when I was 15-years-old.

Cheryl:  Who has most influenced you in your walk with Jesus?  Why?  What about this person do you most long to emulate?

Kelsi:  My parents have been my greatest influence in my spiritual life. Although they are not perfect, they have always been the same people behind closed doors as they were in public and that is critical for young people to see. Young people need consistency, spiritually and otherwise. 

My mother is the most godly woman I know. He faith is unwavering and her love for my father and our family is something I can only strive for.


Kelsi with her Mom, Lisa

Cheryl:  What is your personal favorite song to sing on stage?

Kelsi:  I love to sing a song that Paul wrote called, “Make it Through the Day.” He wrote this while we were dating.

Cheryl:  At the end of life, what legacy do you most hope to leave?

Kelsi:  When I am gone, I want to be remembered as a woman who did her best to please God, love her family and serve others.

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you?

Kelsi:  Please pray for both Paul and I as we continue to learn and grow as parents.



Paul, Carter, & Kelsi



A BIG thank you to Kelsi for sharing her heart with us here!
Dear readers, please keep Kelsi, her family, and Flatt Lonesome in your prayers as they travel, minister to others, and keep the spirit of bluegrass alive. 
To purchase their music or learn more about Flatt Lonesome, click HERE
You can also connect with them on their websiteFacebook, and Twitter.

To read previous
click the links below.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for introducing me to Flatt Lonesome. I had never heard of them but I do like Blue Grass. I went to a summer concert once and really like the music.

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    1. I am so thankful to be able to introduce you to this amazing group, AnnMarie, and so grateful for your visit and kind words! God bless you. :)

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  2. This was a delightful interview to read! I love how their family was close-knit and how her parents were her spiritual guides. I'll have to check out Flatt Lonesome. I don't usually listen to Bluegrass but I do like it! Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #Let'sHaveCoffee.

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    1. Thank you so much, Gayl! Yes, please do check them out ~ you won't be disappointed! God bless you. :)

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  3. Loved reading the inner view. Beautiful woman of God. I will go back to listen to some of the songs. She had me a Allison Krauss as I love her too! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview! I hope you were able to listen and enjoy the beautiful songs. Many hugs and blessings to you, too, sweet friend.

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  4. Hi Dear Friend,This was another goodie..Was a blessings as it seems this has been a hard and trying week for me..I lost the page that Mom had you coming up at so I have to look for you now..I have been so busy I have missed you some but glad I found this one..Keep Me in your prayers PLEASE.. Love Loads,Elaine

    r prayers PLEASE..Love Loads,Elaine

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    1. Praying for you, my friend! I hope this week will be much better for you! God bless you always. Sending love and hugs your way!

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  5. I'm always taken with your interviews with musicians. So cool to see them living out their testimony in the gift from God of music.

    Love the music and her voice. That music is also near and dear to my heart!

    Blessings to all in Flatt Lonesome as well as you and yours, sister.

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    1. Oh, I am so thankful you enjoy the musical interviews! I think they are my favorite ones to do. So thankful for your visit and support and encouragement, brother. God bless you!

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  6. What a great interview. I can't wait to check out some of their music. Blessings, Cheryl.

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    1. That's wonderful, Donna! God bless you. :)

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