Johnny Flynn: A Larum

By: Dennis Cook

Part of a neo-traditionalist revival currently sweeping the pubs and countryside in the United Kingdom, Johnny Flynn does what Fairport Convention, Pentangle and others accomplished in the late '60s: make the antique relevant to modern ears. There's the salt air sweep of sea shanties and highwaymen ballads within A Larum (Lost Highway) but transposed to contemporary angst, homelessness, non-specific discontent and other thoroughly modern maladies (and ancient ones like the heart and what it yearns after). It don't hurt that there's a bred-in-the-bone solidity to his jangle or that all the instrumental accents are perfectly placed - subtle or whiskey potent depending on the needs of a tune. Comprised of originals that feel lived in, weathered by life, nothing here, besides a certain brightness to Flynn's voice, betrays his youth. Like Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson before him, he just creates music that seems plucked from some great tapestry that's been with us for eons. Death songs and love songs, road tunes and solitary laments, all here, delivered with soulful, rootsy skill. This one bears serious watching.

Here's the video for "Brown Trout Blues." Stick around for the boozy trumpet that swings in around the three-minute mark and see if he doesn't tug at you in a really nice way.

And here's a three-song solo acoustic set captured just a few days ago in London at Pure Groove. Flynn performs "Tickle Me Pink," "Leftovers" and "The Box."

[Published on: 11/12/08]

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pagodafitz starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/12/2008 08:07PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This is a really good album. npr had a nice little writeup about him not too long ago. Yes he is not jammy, but there is other music besides yem. Though I can't wait to hear yem live in 09.

MaseBase starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/12/2008 10:04PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I love this album. It's got a distinctly unique style and is great from beginning to end.

gabus! starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/14/2008 01:54PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


love it