Title - Anywhere But Home
Artist - Eamonn Flynn
For those not in the know, Anywhere But Home, which comes out February 25th, 2022 on his own Anam label), the new album from Eamonn Flynn, is a musical love letter to his native Dublin.
The singer-songwriter and keyboardist (The Commitments soundtrack, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Evelyn Champagne King, Elvin Bishop) wrote the nine songs from his home in San Francisco during the pandemic, when travel back to Ireland was impossible.
The album, Flynnís third, is rooted in Irish music along with influences from other styles heís played through the years. He is joined by some of Irish musicís leading instrumentalists ó Athena Tergis, John Doyle and Mick McAuley (Solas), Mike McGoldrick (Lķnasa, Mark Knopfler), Todd Denman, James Macintosh (Shooglenifty), and James Blennerhassett (Paul Brady, Mary Black), as well as Grammy-winning Bay Area drummer Brian Collier (Santana, Ledesi, Lalah Hathaway).
1. Sack Em Ups
2. The Anneís
3. Baile Átha Cliath
4. An tOileán Tiar
5. Ringsend Balcony Bingo
6. Penalty Shootout in The Dockers
7. Meeting of the Waters
8. Bull Wall
9. Sorry for Your Trouble
The album opens on the rhythmically free flowing tale of historic Dublin with Sack Em Ups (the folk-rock saga of 19th-century body snatchers who provided fresh cadavers to medical students) and the gentle storytelling found within The Anneís, and those are seamlessly followed by the gently fervent Cuban rhythms of Baile Átha Cliath (Irish for Dublin, pronounced Balya awe-ha cleeyah), the almost ethereally-charged An tOileán Tiar and then we get the albumís first single, Ringsend Balcony Bingo (which captures the ingenuity, humor and hope of Dubliners during the pandemicóplaying bingo across balconies their answer to Italians singing arias).
Next up is the true-to-life storytelling of Penalty Shootout in The Dockers, where Flynn shares the excitement of a crowded 1990 Dublin pub, watching the World Cup game when Ireland first qualified for the quarter-finals, and that is itself backed by the quietly dulcet Meeting of the Waters, with this beautiful crafted new album rounding out on the yearning balladry of Bull Wall (which puts Flynn at a Dublin seawall, watching the sun rise over the sleeping city, loving the pain and beauty of it all), closing on the final track, Sorry For Your Troubles (which is Flynnís ode for these times we all currently live within).
We have a lot of rituals around funerals in Ireland, Flynn says about that very same track. We use familiar phrases to state what is really impossible to say. But we donít sweep death under the carpet. We try to give the dead a proper send off.
A San Francisco resident since 1997, Flynnís highly accomplished piano playing is at the forefront of the album. Heís got serious chops, from The Commitments (you hear him in much of the movie and most of the soundtrack album), to ten years with legendary Metersí drummer Zigaboo Modeliste, and in between recording or shows with Maria Muldaur, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal, Boz Scaggs, and many more.
Flynnís solo albums give room for his own voice. Ultimately, Anywhere But Home is a love song to the vibrant and complicated city of his birth. As Irish Music Magazine described Flynnís songwriting, this album moves with true emotional register across history, folklore and poetry; a (literal) gritty quality ... evoking triumph over poverty ... with true Dublin savvy.
Anywhere But Homeís album cover is a photo of what remains of The Manhattan Cafe, a much-beloved late-night eatery for Dubliners indulging in a night of revelry or musicians after a gig. Photo is by Ruth Gallagher.
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