Follow us:

Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

October 1, 2013 at 5:31 AM

Johnny Flynn drops ‘Country Mile’

cdjohnnyflynn_webJohnny Flynn, ‘Country Mile’ (Transgressive)

British actor and singer-songwriter Johnny Flynn, virtually unknown in the U.S. though originally produced by Ryan Hadlock, of Woodinville’s Bear Creek Studio, has been hailed by the British press as the launchpad for the folk revival (Mumford & Sons, there; The Head and the Heart, here). This album, along with a promised stateside tour, aims to raise his American profile.

It just might work. Like an older folk generation, Flynn sings in a lusty, British-pub baritone with a sandpaper finish, drawing on triumphal Celtic rhythms, the quaint syntax of romantic balladry (“is risen,” “ ’gainst the wind,” “shores of another land”) and a sense of animist magic unique to Albion. But like the younger generation, he’s no acoustic folk purist, so he relishes electric guitar, piano, drums, bass, organ and even backup vocals, sometimes chugging away with rock energy.

The album’s theme, per its catchy, tumbling-forward title track, is the road, and “Tinker’s Trail” and “Bottom of the Sea Blues” sustain that momentum. But truth be told, Flynn’s at his best on slow and tender material like the waltzes, “Murmuration” (“I dreamt with the saints/I know them by their wing size”) and “Einstein’s Idea,” about gazing at the heavens.

When Flynn finally calms down on “Gypsy Hymn,” sung with his celestial sister, Lillie, the arrangement showcases a voice of exceptional resonance and control and a poetic style that, while short of Top 40 hooks, evokes a fetching mood.

Other new releases

Justin Timberlake,  “The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2” (RCA)
Randy Travis, “Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am” (Warner Bros.)
The Wood Brothers , “The Muse” (+180)

0 Comments | More in Folk | Topics: "Country Mile", Johnny Flynn, neo-folk

COMMENTS

READER NOTE: Our commenting system has changed. Find out more.

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►