It's a challenge to pin Flynn down. He is something of a musical Renaissance man. He grew up in Ireland and settled in the U.S. to eventually form the acclaimed Boston-based band, Cliffs of Dooneen. An accident which nearly cost him his physical mobility slowed him down and enabled him to refocus his musical direction. Along the way he has written music for television (several of the major soap operas), movies (The Legend of Lucy Keyes and the Farrelly Brother's Stuck on You) and Broadway (Spider Man Live). And unlike any musician I know, he writes and performs rock, pop and acoustic music, sliding from one genre to another with the ease of a trapeze artist.
Flynn's The Answer's Not Enough is one of the most completely enjoyable and musically rich recordings I have heard in a long time. I listen to music mostly while I'm driving—it serves as the soundtrack to many back road trips, often in search of the newest artist or venue. With Flynn I feel like he is taking me on a journey rather than the other way around. Each song has a compelling story to tell, or a life lesson to get across. And then there's the music. Flynn knows a lot about which instrument or accompanying vocal to use to get his sound across to the listener. And with collaborators like two of contemporary acoustic music's best singer/songwriters—Ellis Paul and Antje Duvekot—he could not go wrong.
The title track, The Answer's Not Enough, is one of those songs that the moment you hear it, you know it's perfect. It opens up with the sound of an organ and then immediately drops you into a wall of sound driven by the percussion and lead guitar. It's so quick-paced and lively that you want to get up and do some wild kind of dance. The story is beguiling, addressing the work of televangelists and faith healers—those who have a calling and those who are perhaps, preyed upon. It is amazing to me that Flynn plays all of the instruments here.
Heat of the Sun is a love song to Flynn's small son who opens with his very own Pickleberry Song—a few bars sung by the boy. This tune pulls you in with its upbeat, lively melody and backing vocals by Ellis Paul.
But it's Breathless, with co-writer Antje Duvekot that captures your heart. This is pop at its best: beautifully crafted lyrics, intricate musical accompaniment, rich, lilting harmonies, and then it's just Antje's voice. Flynn wrote the music around Antje's lyrics:
This song is so good that Flynn recorded it here twice. See if you like the layers of musical accompaniment or the unadorned, acoustic version best.
And then for all of you Ellis Paul fans out there, No Sympathy will knock you off your feet. It's a rock song with a sprinkling of pop. And it's about sex and lust and love on the run. It's a driving, powerhouse of a song, and it's worth the price of admission just to hear Paul let go and have so much fun with a song that takes him outside of his usual comfort zone. This one is hot, and a heck of a good song. You will be blasting this one in the car and on the road. And, who growls at the end? Is it Paul or Flynn?
There area so many good songs here, but I can't go without mentioning the wonderful Be Careful What You Wish For, written by Flynn, Ellis Paul and Antje Duvekot. This is a song about temptation on the road, personified by the woman waiting for you at the backstage door. It's performed by Flynn with his acoustic guitar, and it's a winner. Like so many others here, it should go straight to radio.
Flynn's fourth solo outing, The Answer's Not Enough is his best effort yet in a career that's quickly leading him from big to even better things. Flynn hits ever song out of the park. There are always lists being made of those to watch for. Keep your eye on Flynn—this is a major talent on the rise.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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