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Flatland Cavalry Prep for Their Headline Debut at the Ryman: 'It's All About Not Giving Up' (Exclusive)

"You just keep going," the Texas country band's frontman Cleto Cordero tells PEOPLE ahead of their show in Nashville on Feb. 10

There is a lyric in Flatland Cavalry’s current single “Spinnin’” that ended up turning into the title of their most recent album Wandering Star

“It’s the heart of the record,” says Flatland Cavalry’s Cleto Cordero, 31, tells PEOPLE from his home in East Nashville during a brief break from the band’s extensive headlining tour. “I kind of skimmed through the lyrics and wanted to see what jumped out at me, and those words did.”

Flatland Cavalry's Wandering Star
Flatland Cavalry's Wandering Star

Certainly, that’s not the only story behind the title of the album. The words "wandering star" also were inspired by a painting that Cordero’s wife Kaitlin Butts picked up in her home state of Oklahoma of a "native man" with his arms spread out towards the heavens, a man that had Cordero wondering what his spirit name would be.

“It would be ‘Wandering Star,’” Cordero explains rather matter-of-factly. “I love how it's an action verb and then a noun, and whenever you see those two words together, you can just imagine this celestial thing of not really being sure where it's going, but it's moving."

And it is this divine description that reminds Cordero of Flatland Cavalry.

“We've literally been wandering around the country for almost 10 years chasing the dream as they say,” Cordero says of the relentless schedule of the band made up of himself and bandmates Jason Albers, Jonathan Saenz, Reid Dillon, Wesley Hall and Adam Gallegos. 

Related: Flatland Cavalry Drummer Jason Albers Marries Fiancée Elizabeth Pace: 'Always Felt Right'

<p>Fernando Garcia</p> Flatland Cavalry

Fernando Garcia

Flatland Cavalry

It is this very band, who has been sharing stages with the likes of Luke Combs, Lainey Wilson and Jordan Davis, who will make their headline debut at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 10.

“It’s all about not giving up,” continues Cordero of Flatland Cavalry, who made their initial debut in 2015 and recently released a new acoustic performance video for their addictive song, “A Thousand Miles an Hour.” “It’s all about not quitting when someone doesn't like your art or when someone says something ill of you. You just keep going.”

Cordero has ‘kept going’ since he was just a 17-year-old kid growing up in Texas, learning how to write his first songs. “I kind of see it in my mind as a little mini movie,” Cordero chuckles of the songwriting process. “It's like, ‘What are the characters doing in there? What's going on?’ And how do I distill that in four lines, if you will?”

<p>Fernando Garcia</p> Flatland Cavalry

Fernando Garcia

Flatland Cavalry

Cordero’s talents are illuminated on Flatland Cavalry’s gorgeous song “Mornings with You.” “The first day I showed it to Kaitlin, she was like, ‘Oh my God, this is a beautiful song,’” remembers Cordero, whose wife of over three years is an accomplished singer/songwriter herself. “She told me that she thought that it might be the most beautiful song I had ever written.”

And then she proceeded to tell her husband that Chris Stapleton should record it.

“I don't think she ever alluded to letting me sing on it,” laughs Cordero of the song he wrote alongside Ashley Monroe and Nick Walsh. “It was our producer [Dwight A. Baker] that thought it would be really sick to have Kaitlin to add some background vocals to this, and it really brings that element of the union of love and stuff and her and my relationship." He pauses. "Anytime we get a chance to sing together, I love it. I love her and I love what she does.”

It’s a song that also finds itself becoming another piece of the impressive legacy of Flatland Cavalry that concludes on Wandering Star with the stunning yet somber song “Forgotten.”

“You've listened to this journey of emotions and a ride that started off on the album with a song like ‘The Provider,’ which is like, ‘All right, dude, let's go,’” Cordero says. “And then you end with something like ‘Forgotten,’ which is like, ‘It's over. It's done.'"

He continues: "I thought about the idea of something that's going and going and going. At what point does it become gone and then eventually forgotten about because the people that sent it out don't even exist anymore?”

It's a deep thought, to say the least. “I get like that every once in a while,” admits Cordero with a laugh.

<p>Fernando Garcia</p> Flatland Cavalry

Fernando Garcia

Flatland Cavalry

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