a Pennsylvania treasure….Flannery has the soul of an Irish poet and the detail-capturing eye of a seasoned journalist…In “Under the Covers ” 14 noted artists take on some of Tom’s strongest compositions. Stripped down to their acoustic hearts, the music is direct and accessible…picture a baker’s dozen outstanding acoustic performers sitting on your front porch, playing some of the best songs you’ve ever heard.
–Jim Colbert, The Folk Show, WPSUfm
14 intensely intimate interpretations…”Under the Covers” showcases a songwriting talent on par with anyone at the highest levels of their craft..
— WRKC Radio
a very cool record….ambitious….it
comes off as low key without pretense…A diverse collection of songs that showcases Tom Flannery’s talents as a songwriter.
— Music on the Menu, 105 The River
Tom Flannery has done it again, this time with a little help from his friends. The result is magical and truly captures Flannery’s brilliance as a songwriter.
— Vinyl Voyage
a master at the art of storytelling and songwriting. This effort is truly exceptional.
— The V-Spot
Most of these are new songs. I planned on recording them myself. Then I changed my mind.
I was sick of my own voice. These songs were different. They had more space in them, notes I couldn’t hit…or didn’t dare try to. They were more open to interpretation. I considered them some of the best I’d ever written….but the more I sang them myself, the more I heard the other voices in my head.
What other voices?
I had no idea. But I wanted to find out.
I had the song “In Lieu of You”. I recorded a demo of it on my Iphone. There was something about it….something I liked. But I was only scratching the surface. John Canjar is a friend of mine. An incredibly gifted guitar player and singer. He lives down the road. I sent him the demo and asked if he had any ideas. He did. He came up to the house. I rolled tape and that’s how it all started. There was no way I was gonna touch what he put down. I decided then and there that I’d ask others to sing these songs for me. Sounds like an ego trip. I wish it was. The truth is I don’t have enough ego. If I did I would have borrowed/stolen all these arrangements and recorded them myself.
Asialena Bonitz is 17 years old. “12 O’Clock Whistle” is a weary song…..a song for old people. A song about what happens when dreams aren’t just put aside…but are obliterated….by
the responsibilities that are supposed to subside but so often do not. How the hell was a high school kid gonna get this across? Why was I asking a high school kid to get this across?
Because I knew this kid. I’d heard what she could do. A voice like hers comes along….well…once?
She came over and did 2 takes. That’s it. I played and she sang. She laughed about her belly rumbling on the tape, and then sang like an old lady ripping out her own heart.
Lies in the bedroom / frames on the mantle the faces can’t know / what the creases may tell love letters buried / like secrets carried with the dawn ringing / from a rusty church bell
When it was over she just said “was that ok?” I’m not sure what I said. I may not have said anything. I’m still not sure what to say. I hope thank you will suffice. And maybe “remember my sorry ass when everybody else figures out what I already know and you are at the top of the world where you belong.”
And it went on from there. Songs I co-wrote with Neil Luckett (I sent Neil the lyrics to “MIA” and he did the rest from his home in England. Neil plays guitar like he’s got an extra hand….with 9 fingers on each) and Josh Pratt….who I consider to be Pennsylvania’s finest songwriter. I wrote “Auctioneer” and Josh said….”well…who is this Auctioneer?” When I stuttered and said….”um….some dude trying to pick up chicks I guess”….Josh picked up his pen and re-wrote most of the lyrics. Thankfully. In 3 minutes he completed a screenplay. I asked him for the lyrics yesterday and he sheepishly admitted to never writing them down. Josh is odd that way.
Kris and Julie Kehr made me cry with “Fool For You Again”, a song that picked at so many scabs I wasn’t sure I could ever sing it. Me and Kris aren’t related….but if I have a mirror musical image his is the face looking back at me (And any man who marries someone with a voice like Julie’s is gonna die happy).
George Wesley knocked the shit out of me even though I knew he was going to knock the shit out of me. I shouldn’t have been surprised at all, but that’s the way George rolls. “Leaving Home” just ignited. And that’s why I love him like a brother. Lorne Clarke rescued “The Show” from the scrapheap (something he’ll remind me about forever, incidentally….Canadians are like that)…for which I’m eternally grateful. Michael Jerling sang “Mickey Mantle”, a song about my own father, and turned it into something universal….fathers and sons….what we hope to be vs. what we really are. Jerling is a folk artist….and there ain’t many like him. Shannon Marsyada put up with my telling her how special she is…and then went and proved it. Thanks Irish. Tim McGurl came to visit and we both felt something special in the air….something we dared not mess with. His version of “Don’t Kill My Heart” kills mine for sure….and the song feels more like his gift to me than anything else. Van Wagner turned a 2013 ballad into a Dust Bowl Ballad…but made it sound new at the same time. Try that sometime.
Bret Alexander and Lisa Moscatiello should both be household names. Few are called. Fewer still are chosen. And you can count on one hand the ones who deserve the accolades. “Miner Boy was written in 1996….and I still sing the song at gigs…although not at Lisa’s level, because…well…because that’s impossible. There may be a better female vocalist in America…but they’d have to pass Lisa before reaching the finish line. Good luck with that ladies. And Bret took a simple song that I could never get right and nailed it, making it sound simple above the cacophony of whispered resignation and despair…which is what the best always do. Bret is special.
A final shout out to my soul brother number One, Joe Wegleski….a fellow Shillelagh and a man I trust above all others. Listen to his guitar work on “I’m Still Me”…….a master’s class in not overplaying….serving the song for the sake of the song. All the more remarkable because we were making it up as we went along. I will say that spontaneity is way more charming when you have a player like Wiggy in the room.
It’s quite a line-up here….and I’m sitting here tonight feeling like the kid in the proverbial candy store. The fact that I can call these people friends means as much to me as the music they’re helping me share.
— Tom Flannery