Recently I’ve been delving into the world of Irish music and going back over some of my favourite Irish artists work. Mick Flannery is an artist I hadn’t listened to in a long time so I started from the beginning with ‘Evening Train’ which I thought was a pretty solid debut record. ‘White Lies’ followed 3 years later in 2008 and the though his debut was good, he raises the bar with his sophomore record.
This record put Flannery on the map in Ireland as it took a Top 10 place in the charts, while praise was also heaped on his ability to write songs beyond his years. I don’t know if I can call the 11 tracks here “bangers” because of their nature, but they’re certainly in-depth and meaningful. Flannery’s ability to write such sorrowful music makes for great listening, with some tracks hitting you like a tonne of bricks at times. The records cover image is even aligned to the music. It looks like he’s wondering if and why he should get out of bed, playing the lonely, heartbroken wanderer. That actually annoys me 99% of the time, with artists such as Gavin James looking so despondent that you’d wonder why anyone would go to one of his live shows!
Annnyway, back to the music. The track that stands out most for me, perhaps because of it’s rock sound, is ‘Wish You Well’. It’s not only the sound but also the lyrics that do it for me. As if pleading for an answer he sings-
“..except to set you my baby free,
Whatever kept you from leaving me?”
The guitar throughout also flows with the tone and meaning of the song. One of Flannery’s most popular songs, ‘Safety Rope’ also features on this record. Piano lead, he pulls all his talent into this one beautiful song. ‘Goodbye’ is a track where I hear his idols influence come to life. Flannery has cited Tom Waits as a major influence on his life and career and in ‘Goodbye’, that influence comes across more so than anywhere else on the record. It’s probably harsh to talk up a select number of tracks as the entire record should be praised. However, ‘Wait Here’, ‘Near Or Far’ and ‘Smiling Girl’ are all excellent tracks worth special mention too.
His follow-up ‘Red To Blue’, and more recent again, ‘By The Rule’( I’ve yet to hear ‘I Own You’, further cement the fact that Mick Flannery is a very talented artist.