soundtrack to the upcoming documentary film from Dunmore, PA director Liz Naro
released May 7, 2017
all songs written by Tom Flannery
Tom Flannery - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Joseph "Wiggy" Wegleski - guitar, mandolin, ukulele
Tom Borthwick - piano
recorded at Sound Investments
Old Forge, PA
produced by Wiggy
mastered by TB
NOTES – Myself and Liz have known each other since we were teens. Two Dunmore, PA kids who learned how to live and love and grow in a town that neither of us has been able to escape. Not that we’ve tried very hard (especially Liz, who still lives there, a touchdown pass from the football field) . She became the mother of 2 sons. I became the father of 2 daughters. My Mom still lives there. Liz’s brother runs a tavern in town. We bleed crimson. It’s just coincidence that blood is the same color.
As kids we drank beer beside roaring bon-fires and dreamed dreams to the soundtrack of battery powered boom-boxes. We traveled in packs yet still strove to be visible, while at the same time reveling in the comfortable anonymity that small towns provide. It was a pretty cool place to grow up in. Still is.
Ross Cordaro was paralyzed in a freak wrestling accident during a football practice in 1974. He was 14. If you’re from Dunmore, you know this. You just do. Nine months later, in front of thousands of fans on Thanksgiving Day, he walked out onto the field as an honorary captain of the Dunmore Buck football team. You don’t tell a Dunmore kid that he’ll never walk again. You just don’t.
The perfect Hollywood ending to the story. Except it wasn’t the end. And Dunmore is 3000 fucking miles away from tinsel town.
Make no mistake. What Ross Cordaro was able to overcome in 1974 was truly staggering. But in subsequent years, after brutal therapy, his health has declined. After multiple surgeries over multiple decades, Ross is once again confined to a wheel chair. He has suffered the tragic loss of his beloved brother Moochie, who died in a horrific car crash. He lost both parents. And his step-daughter perished, cruelly, in yet another auto accident. His eldest brother has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Shakespearean stuff. If it was fiction you’d think the writer ODd on pathos.
He’s loved and lost and done both again and again. He was dangerously close to being homeless for a time. And yet, armed with a poem given to him by his old football coach, he never quit. When he staggered, Dunmore was there keep him upright….coming together to raise cash when needed. Some friends helped Ross move into a handicapped accessible home. It’s what home is supposed to be. In LBJs words….a place where folks “know when you are sick and care when you die.”
Liz is Ross’s cousin, and her film is as much about small towns as it is about Ross. And it’s about bravery and loyalty on a scale that’s not even charted anymore…because if it was everybody would just presume some fool just fat-fingered the numbers.
And finally, it’s a story of friendship. And love.
Liz asked me for music. I feel bad because what I delivered is in no way standard soundtrack fare. People from Dunmore don’t know how to half-ass anything. So a few minutes of soundtrack music became 11 new songs, an entire project in its own right. For this I apologize….but I’d do it again. So….
Liz understands. Because she’s the same way.
I sat down one afternoon and sang and played live, all first takes. Some harp on top. Wiggy and Tom added their parts over a few nights. And that was that. It seemed right.
It’s more a lyrical song-cycle filled with vagueness, and doesn’t even try to tell Ross’s story in any sort of standard way. To tell the truth I have no idea how any of this stuff is going to fit into Liz’s film. But when I told her this she just told me to shut up and keep going. So I did. And here it is.
Ross, these songs are for you.
In a bit…
May 6, 2017
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