Emotionally charged, lyrically wealthy songs from Irish singer-songwriter Mick Flannery, tackling complicated points folks face at varied factors within the messy arc of their lives.
When Oh Boy Information, based by John Prine in 1981, signed Cork, Eire’s Mick Flannery earlier this yr, president Fiona Prine mentioned,“Oh Boy Information continues to be the house label for singer-songwriters who’re devoted to their craft. The physique of labor created by my husband, John Prine, stays our North Star when making choices in regards to the artists we carry onto our label. Mick Flannery is arguably among the best songwriters to emerge from Eire’s lengthy and storied historical past of writers, poets and musicians. I couldn’t be extra delighted to welcome Mick, as the primary worldwide signing, to our Oh Boy Information household. John was proud to be a part of the music group on Eire’s western coast and I do know he could be happy with this new partnership with Mick and his group.”
Flannery’s newest album and his first for Oh Boy, ‘Goodtime Charlie,’ is filled with intricate, introspective storytelling, people and roots rock, and haunting melodies. It contains collaborations with Valerie June, Anais Mitchell, and Tianna Esperanza (granddaughter of The Slits’ Palmolive). With a vocal fashion very similar to Ray LaMontagne’s, Flannery narrates the adventures and struggles of a variety of characters, placing to good use his Balzacian eye for element. New listeners may be stunned to study simply how younger Flannery is that if they’ve solely heard him sing.
From the painful, anxious self-doubt of youth lined by an aggressive, strident façade (‘Younger’) to the devastation of the world and its know-how alienating an outdated gearhead (‘Machine’), the album will land emotionally for no matter stage of life the listener is presently experiencing.
The title observe ‘Goodtime Charlie’ is a bluesy, swampy guitar rocker a couple of hedonistic occasion boy, simply the largest earworm of the document. This tune and ‘What They Say,’ a couple of craggy outdated soul well-known on the Reeperbahn, balances out a few of the heavier, unhappy tracks.
‘OK LA’ isn’t the primary tune to anthropomorphize Los Angeles as a difficult girl, however Flannery’s interpretation, co-written with Adam Landry, may properly be one of the best. On this model she is a bleach-blonde poisonous narcissist whom he loves anyway. On the marginally uneven ‘Minnesota,’ sung principally by Anäis Mitchell, that state and America as a complete are forged as a troublesome however much-loved little one that wants safety.
‘Neon Tonight’ is a couple of nervous, in all probability weary band on the point of go onstage, however may be interpreted as somebody constructing a house to share whereas additionally needing house of 1’s personal. The seek for a haven recurs all through the album, like on the romantic ‘Morning Rain’ with its delicate piano traces, and ‘Somebody To Inform It To.’ ‘Give Me Up’ characterizes a cussed insistence on loving and staying with somebody, nonetheless difficult that selection turns into.
The reminiscence of being a younger boy serving to his father work on vehicles on ‘Machine,’ simply to be round him, turns to the unhappy realization that the brand new know-how of electrical autos changing his father’s beloved V-8 engines goes to move the getting old man by fully. “That’s once you have been glad / Elbow on the panel, smiling out the window / Listening to the gravel.”
The mournful ‘The Reality,’ just like Damien Rice’s storytelling songs, is in regards to the demise of a younger outlaw, whose physique Flannery sees on the highway after a deadly automobile accident on the Alabama-Georgia state line. The added vocals of Valerie June add a harrowing tinge to the story.
Flannery’s gravelly, worldly-wise voice, with an occasional trace of a Southern American drawl, make his eager observations of individuals very highly effective. Fortunately he’s additionally able to making a playful, stomping jam with an equally compelling storyline.