Saturday, December 7th, 2019
An award-winning, double-platinum selling artist, Mick Flannery is on the brink of releasing not only his self-titled sixth album, but also overseeing the worldwide premiere of the stage musical, Evening Train (so named after his 2007 debut album). He began to write songs as a teenager in his home of Blarney, County Cork. As musical influences from albums by the likes of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits seeped into his creative DNA, Mick absorbed, learned and honed the craft that would send him on his way into the world. The path was smoothed somewhat when, at the age of 19, he became the first Irish songwriter to win the Nashville-based International Songwriting Competition. By the time he turned 21, he had signed to a major label and released his debut album.
With his latest release, Mick touches on loose themes of ambition and the search for a meaningful life in the context of a musician’s sometimes feckless and dysfunctional lifestyle. The central character, he reveals, is someone like him, “although this person achieves more notoriety than I have. He is properly famous, and he has to deal with that.” The loose theme is just that, however. “I’m not going to hammer it home. Facets of the theme are on the album, but the storyline itself isn’t an overarching one – each song can stand on its own, and not need to be part of a narrative.”
Threading a line throughout is Mick’s uncanny knack for blending melody with thought-provoking lyrics. Now in his mid-30s, and somewhat reflective of the musician he sings about on his self-titled album, Mick is fully aware of the internal struggles that come with trying to balance ambitions with whatever life throws their way.
This self-titled release is Mick’s sixth album – that is a sizeable back catalogue, a genuine body of work. For live shows, he says, it’s comforting.
At the core of it all is a precise and skilled art form, of which the album is a fine, individualistic example from a songwriter who still aims to knock the competition out of the frame.
Beware of the quiet ones? You have been duly advised.
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