John Flynn, |
The songs on this album are like a collective bucket of low flames that spark and fly around throughout the CD. They quickly flick at your bare skin and you might want to shield your eyes, but you can't hide. They warm the night air through John Flynn's smooth voice, which delivers descriptive messages of hope and understanding. They will leave a mark on you.
Flynn writes what he can sing and it's a pleasurable collaboration of music and voice. The title track, "Two Wolves," is a spiritual conversation between a boy and his grandfather about choosing violence or peace; it sets the tone of the CD and this song provides a symbolism that is strong, clear and, I think, quite unmatched by any of the other songs on the CD.
That doesn't mean the others aren't substantial, by any means. On this CD are the soft lyrics of a '60s-like folk ballad in "No More War" and the more rambunctious "Put Your Freedom Where Your Mouth Is." Those two, and the following track, were written by Flynn, as was "Azizuillah," which questions the dramatic tension between invading soldiers and children in war-torn countries. There's an original and thoughtful inner voice that radiates from the strong, poetic lyrics.
Flynn also adds a couple of strays not written by him. Included are "Hall of Angels" written by Kris Kristofferson and "Pleasures of the Harbour" by Phil Ochs. Flynn treats them well and they sit nicely in the round with his own thought-provoking, socially conscious songs.
Though folksy, the CD will also suit those used to a more pop or country sound. The production fills out with accompanying vocals. Kathy Mattea sings in "My Father's Chapel" and Kristofferson joins in on his own composition and on "There's No Them There." Kim and Reggie Harris also lend vocals, as do Jane Kelly Williams and Amy Helm. John Flynn plays acoustic guitar, and is assisted by musicians Larry Campbell, John Conte, Denny McDermott, Duke Levine, Stephanie Winters, Ben Wisch and Marianne Osiel. The result is a beautiful collection of spirituals, ballads about peace and love, faith and renewal, loss and life.
The music flows, the sentiment is not overdone, and I think it's an enjoyable piece of universal music that will be enjoyed for years by those who will take the time to find it and listen to it.
1 March 2008
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