With the recent passing of the great Pete St. John, Dubliners need have no fear. The well is not dry; Flynn is the bard to continue the canon of songs for Dublin, because every generation needs its memories and melodies.
Seán Laffey - Irish Music Magazine
“Anywhere But Home” is a heartfelt tribute to the city of Dublin from accomplished Irish pianist, brilliant songwriter and engaging vocalist Eamonn Flynn.
It’s not as if there haven’t been tributes to Dublin aplenty down through time, in art, music, literature, stage and screen, but this album certainly is one of the more personable and heartfelt ones in recent years.
Anywhere But Home is a grooving, moving, tuneful tribute to Dublin by Eamonn Flynn, a proud Northsider, who swapped the docks for the Dock of the Bay some years ago...he follows the tracks laid down by the late singer-songwriter Mick Fitzgerald, a Cabra man, who also showcased the Northside in his songs.
...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 Flynn’s ode for these times we all currently live within).
ANYWHERE BUT HOME
Anywhere But Home, the new album from Eamonn Flynn, is a musical love letter to his native Dublin. The singer-songwriter and keyboardist (The Commitments soundtrack, Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur) wrote the nine songs from his home in San Francisco during the early days of the pandemic, when travel back to Ireland was impossible. The album came out on Feb. 25, 2022 on Flynn’s Anam label.
The album, Flynn's third, is rooted in Irish music along with influences from other styles he’s played through the years. He's joined by some of Irish music's leading instrumentalists — John Doyle, Mick McAuley (Solas), Mike McGoldrick (Lúnasa, Mark Knopfler), Athena Tergis, 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).
"Recently I was re-engaged with songs I grew up with, playing gigs with Michael and Shay Black,” says Flynn. "I was lucky to have some great Irish players on the CD. John Doyle especially was a big part of the album.”
Flynn's piano playing is at the core of the album. His soul-styled chops are heard on The Commitments 14-million-selling soundtrack album, and with such artists as Boz Scaggs, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Evelyn 'Champagne' King, Taj Mahal, and 10 years with legendary New Orleans drummer Zigaboo Modeliste of The Meters.
Ultimately, Anywhere But Home is a love song to the vibrant, complicated city of Flynn's birth.
“If there's an era this album represents, it's 1990s Dublin," Flynn, who moved to the States in 1997, concludes. "The ‘90s was Ireland reaching the quarter finals of the World Cup, The Commitments, the Manhattan Cafe (on CD cover photo) after a night on the razz. I've heard people say that's when Ireland started getting a bit of confidence in herself, a precursor to the Celtic Tiger years. All I know is that it was a very fun time.”
Airplay support (thank you!) so far from: Thistle and Shamrock on NPR, Celtic Crush on SiriusXM, Profiles In Folk 91.1 FM WSHU and 89.9 FM WSUF in Connecticut, Down the Back Lane on WXNA 101.5 FM Nashville, Maui Celtic Music Hour KAKU 88.5 FM Maui, Celtic Music Radio 95 FM in Glasgow, The Irish Music Show and Ceol Anocht on KCLR 96 FM in Kilkenny, Celtic Music Hour on KMUZ 88.5 FM & 100.7 FM in Salem and Keizer, Cats in Our Laps on KPTZ 91.9 FM in Port Townsend, Celt Radio on KZFR in Chico CA, Hootenanny Power on WRKF in Baton Rouge LA, Celtic Cadence on KVMR in Grass Valley CA, Acoustic Blender on WESU FM in Middletown CT, One Step Beyond on KOWS 92.5FM in Sonoma, Ireland Tonight WDCB 90.9 FM in Chicago, The Celtic Show on WRFG 89.3 FM in Atlanta, Whiskey Before Breakfast on WRCT 88.3 Pittsburgh, Windy City Irish Radio on 750AM WNDZ in Chicago, 'On The Eire' on Charity Radio in Dublin Ireland, The Revolution Starts Now on WHUP-LP 104.7 in Hillsborough in NC, Sing Out Radio Magazine on WDIY FM in Allentown, PA, Celtic Harvest on WUTC in Chattanooga in TN, The Hudson Valley Rag Shop on WVKR 91.3 in Ploughkeepsie in NY, Pub Songs and Stories Podcast, From Albion And Beyond on KUAR FM 89.1 in Little Rock, AR, The Celtic Universe on KWMR in Point Reyes, CA, Folk Fury on KTEP 88.5FM in El Paso, TX., The Catskills Cafe WIOX 91.3 FM in Roxbury, NY, Folk on Sunday and Kidnappers Ceilidh, Radio Kidnappers 1431AM & 104.7FM Hastings, New Zealand, The New Brick Road on KVMR in Nevada City, CA, The Celtic Show on WRFG 89.3 FM in Atlanta, GA, Out Of The Woods Radio (nationally and internationally syndicated), Just Us Folk in Kitchener, Canada, After Midnight and Midweek Music Miscellany on Dublin City FM in Dublin, Ireland, The New Brick Road on KVMR in Nevada City, CA, Hudson River Sampler on WAMC in Albany, New York, Marty In The Morning on RTE Lyric FM in Ireland, Trail Mix on Kansas Public Radio, Kitchen Party Ceilidh on WICR in Indianapolis, Radio Nowhere Worldwide on FolkMusicNotebook.com.
All songs by Eamonn Flynn except * by Thomas Moore
1. Sack Em Ups 4:19
2. The Anne's 5:24
3. Baile Átha Cliath 4:52
4. An tOileán Tiar 4:53
5. Ringsend Balcony Bingo 4:25
6. Penalty Shootout in The Dockers 4:00
7. Meeting of the Waters* 4:30
(by Thomas Moore)
8. Bull Wall 4:15
9. Sorry for Your Trouble 4:17
Produced by Eamonn Flynn
Media contact: Judith Joiner,
SACK EM UPS
Eamonn Flynn: vocals, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, accordion, harmonium
John Doyle: guitars; Todd Denman: uilleann pipes, whistle; James Blennerhassett: bass;
James McIntosh: drums, percussion
The Sack Em Ups were body snatchers in 19th century Dublin and parts of Britain. At the time there was a thriving trade in recently buried bodies that would be dug up and sold to the College of Surgeons to teach the students about anatomy. Many people feared that after they died their bodies would be dug up by the Sack Em Ups. We have our own versions of the Sack Em Ups these days who have very few scruples about how they turn a profit but I suppose that's another story.
Eamonn Flynn: vocals, piano; John Doyle: guitar; Mike McGoldrick: flute; Todd Denman: uilleann pipes; James Blennerhassett: bass
St. Anne's Park in Raheny on the northside of Dublin used to be owned by the Guinness family. Arthur Guinness, aka Lord Ardilaun, commissioned a renovation of St. Anne’s in 1873 and he transformed it from a Georgian-style villa to a Palazzo of the Italian Renaissance style. He included exotic 'follies'; bridges, aquatic features, a temple, a walled garden, a line of oaks and pines along the estate avenue and lots of imported shrubbery and flora. The remains of these follies can still be seen. St. Anne's was finally sold to Dublin Corporation in 1939 and it became a public park.
When I was growing up, The Annes was a place to play, mitch off school and try, usually unsuccessfully, to chat up girls. The follies and faux Renaissance features gave it a magical quality especially after the senses were heightened with some 'Red Leb' or 'Black Moroccan'. And there was indeed a fellow called Marcus who used to play the flute there at night.
BAILE ÁTHA CLIATH
Eamonn Flynn: vocals, piano, Hammond organ, bass; John Doyle: guitar, mandola, bass, backing vocal; Mike McGoldrick: percussion, uilleann pipes, whistle
Baile Átha Cliath is the Irish name for Dublin. This is about one of those relatively rare days in Dublin when the sun comes out long enough for people to bare some skin and even pick up a sunburn. The song mentions a well known mime/ street artist called Thom McGinty aka The Diceman, now passed on, who used to be a fixture on Grafton Street back in the day as he moved imperceptibly slowly down Grafton Street. The statue of Philo referred to is, of course, Phil Lynott, immortalized in bronze on Harry Street. Like all these songs, I wrote it during the pandemic when the thought of going out for a day in the sun followed by a night on the razz in Dublin sounded impossibly idyllic.
AN tOILEÁN TIAR
Eamonn Flynn: vocals, piano; John Doyle: bouzouki, synthesizer; Mike McGoldrick: bodhran, whistle; James Blennerhassett: bass
An tOileán Tiar means the western island and refers to the Great Blasket Island off the coast of Kerry in the south west of Ireland. An Blascaod Mór was inhabited until 1953 by a completely Irish-speaking population. At its peak, the islands had 175 residents. The population had declined to 22 by 1953 and the government evacuated the remaining residents to the mainland that year. A number of great books were written by islanders, recording much of the islands' traditions and way of life, including An tOileánach (The Islandman) by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig by Peig Sayers and Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin. You can take a boat out there from Dunquin and it’s a beautiful, lonely, magical place full of ghostly memories.
RINGSEND BALCONY BINGO
Eamonn Flynn: vocals, piano; Athena Tergis: violins; John Doyle: backing vocals
In the early days of the pandemic, we all watched videos of people in Italy singing songs to one another from the balconies of their apartments. Then I heard about the Dublin version: playing bingo on the balconies of the flats in Ringsend. You'll never keep the Dubs down.
PENALTY SHOOTOUT IN THE DOCKERS
Eamonn Flynn: vocals, piano; John Doyle: guitar, backing vocals; Mick McAuley: accordion; James Blennerhassett: bass
When Ireland first qualified for the World Cup in 1990 under the management of Jack Charlton, the tournament was held in Italy and every Irish person was either glued to the T.V. or made the trek out to Italy. Ireland made a very good account of ourselves and made it all the way to the quarter finals where we were knocked out by the hosts, Italy. I watched the match that got us into the quarter finals in The Dockers pub on Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin. We played Romania and the game went to penalties. We won the game thanks to a save by Packie Bonner and a converted Dave O'Leary penalty. I wrote the song the morning after I heard the news that Jack Charlton had passed away. It's dedicated to him and the joy he and the team brought to an entire nation.
MEETING OF THE WATERS
Eamonn Flynn: vocals, piano
This is a Wicklow song but it's written by a Dub, a great man called Thomas Moore. Thomas Moore was a poet, satirist, composer, and political propagandist and a bit of a rock star in his day (1779-1852), He was a good friend of Lord Byron and Percy Shelley. At the Meeting of the Waters in County Wicklow just south of Dublin, the Avonmore and Beg rivers come together to form the Avoca River. It's a lovely place. I dedicate this song to the memory of my mother, May Cullen, who was a Wicklow woman.
Eamonn Flynn: vocals, piano, synthesizer; John Doyle: electric guitar; Athena Tergis: violins; James Blennerhassett: bass; Brian Collier: drums, percussion
The Bull Wall stretches from the estuary of the River Tolka and the suburb of Clontarf out into Dublin Bay. It's one of the two main sea walls of the port of Dublin. It has one of a trio of port lighthouses at the end of the breakwater, near a famous statue of Realt na Mara (Mary, Queen of the Sea). It was responsible for the formation of North Bull Island with its nearly 5km of beach, called Dollymount. James Joyce sets the end of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man on Dollymount. Stephen Daedalus sees a girl standing in the waves with her skirt pulled up and decides there and then that the priesthood is not for him and a life of writing was a far better idea. When I played this song for my brother Colm, he said that it's been a long time since a single seagull was seen in Dollymount, the feckers are taking over...
SORRY FOR YOUR TROUBLE
Eamonn Flynn: vocals, piano, Hammond organ
We have a lot of rituals around funerals in Ireland and sayings that we use to deal with grief and to communicate our sympathy. We use familiar phrases to say what is really impossible to say. But we don't sweep death under the carpet, we try to give the dead a proper send off.
EAMONN FLYNN: Anywhere But Home
Produced by Eamonn Flynn
Mixed by John Doyle
Mastered by Andy Seward
Recording engineers: Cookie Marenco, Cam Perridge, Joel Jaffe and Ari Rios
Assistant engineer: Patrick O Connor
Artwork: Mick Waller
Photos: Ruth Gallagher