- 30 Jul 21
Multi-talented Dubliner nurtures songs of old into tender tracks of new.
Appearing to be just as comfortable with shanties and Tascam four-track cassette tape loops as he was with experimental electronic sounds during his stint supporting Lankum on tour in 2019; John Francis Flynn slots easily into a coterie of Irish musicians rewriting the traditional music script. At times otherworldly and poignant, often hauntingly gripping but always spine-tingling; I Would Not Live Always could fool any listener into assuming the lyrics and poems are original to Flynn himself.
With songs written by activist and folk revivalist Ewan MacColl, a West Indies hayward shanty published by Stan Hugill alongside the works of Shirley Collins, Frank Harte and settled Traveller Paddy Quilligan - Flynn’s debut offering is beautifully supported by the incredible talents of his Skipper’s Alley bandmate Ultan O’Brien on fiddle, sean nós singer Saileog Ní Cheannabháin, Consuela Breschi, and O Emperor’s Phil Christie on keyboards.
Curated by drummer and composer Ross Chaney with engineering, mixing and production by Brendan Jenkinson, John Francis Flynn’s disarmingly powerful presence consistently weaves a delicate, innovative soundscape. Whether it’s his knack for the double tin whistle or his raw vocal creativity on songs of the past, the absurdly talented Dubliner is breaking new ground.
From the gutsy lack of pretence on ‘My Son Tim’ to the astounding three-part ‘Bring Me Home’, expect to be transported into another time and place (with plenty of goosebumps).
Listen: ‘Bring Me Home, Pt I: The Dear Irish Boy’
Stream I Would Not Live Always (Rough Trade/River Lea) below: