Mick Flannery

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Mick Flannery
Mick Flannery.JPG
Mick Flannery in 2008.
Background information
Born (1983-11-28) 28 November 1983 (age 30)[1]
Origin Blarney, County Cork, Ireland
Occupations Singer–songwriter, stonemason
Instruments Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Labels EMI Records
Website http://www.mickflannery.com

Mick Flannery (born 28 November 1983) is an Irish singer and songwriter.

His debut album Evening Train resulted from his time spent studying music and management at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork. It featured tracks which had previously won Flannery two categories at the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville, Tennessee, as judged by his idol, Tom Waits. He was the first Irish musician to win in this event.

Flannery's second studio album White Lies was released on 12 September 2008, achieving a top ten position on the Irish Albums Chart. It later went platinum and was nominated for the Choice Music Prize.

The Irish Times placed him at number forty-six in a list of "The 50 Best Irish Acts Right Now" published in April 2009. Also that year Flannery won Best Irish Male at the 2009 Meteor Awards. Influences include Kurt Cobain, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

Early years[edit]

Flannery was reared on farmland outside Blarney, County Cork.[2][3][4]

Coming from a family with a keen musical interest, Flannery was introduced to folk and blues music at a young age.

My mother's side were big into music, more than my dad's side. My mother is a singer and she plays the guitar. She recorded an album of her own actually two years ago. And it was her brothers and sisters that kind of got me into music. [...] At those family nights there was a good bit of Tom Waits, a bit of Dylan. Most of the singers would be female, my aunts, and they would sing Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell.[5]

Flannery cites an encounter with the music of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana as a direct influence on his desire to become a musician.[2][4] Seeing Cobain perform "The Man Who Sold the World" on MTV Unplugged he promptly purchased a copy of MTV Unplugged in New York.[2][3][4] He soon bought the album Blonde on Blonde as well.[2] Flannery claims to have written his first song at the age of fifteen.[6] His first completed song was called "Mad Man's Road", a tale of a murder which took place on the road in which he lived.[6] He has been dismissive of his earlier material, referring to it as "tripe".[7]

However, he is keen to express his fondness for stonemasonry and its position alongside his music: "I wasn't going to sit in a room and write songs seven days a week and live on bread and beans. I liked doing stonemasonry as well".[7] He still does it on an occasional basis: "We wouldn’t be carving gravestones or anything. We’d do the fronts of houses, entrance walls, stuff like that".[8]

History[edit]

Evening Train[edit]

While undergoing a music and management course at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork, Flannery commenced writing the album that would become Evening Train, an eleven-track concept album about the exploits of two brothers.[2][9] His original intention had been to write a musical but this endeavour proved unsuccessful.[2]

Before its release Flannery and a friend who worked alongside him in the stonemasonry business embarked on a three-month trip to the United States, living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[6][10] Flannery spent his time performing in New York.[6] His sister was present for one of the months and assisted him with organising his performances.[10] Flannery, however, quickly became disillusioned by the New York music scene, and referred to it in one interview as "a bit up its own arse".[6]

Evening Train was received positively by critics in Ireland and the United States.[2] Reviewers noted its "astute and sophisticated lyrics", its "strong, imaginative melodies", its Tom Waits sound.[3][9][11] The RTÉ Guide later said, "His voice was like Tom Waits meets the howling of a grizzled freight train hobo".[12] entertainment.ie reviewer Lauren Murphy described it as "an album dripping with maturity, poise and potential" and that "the most astounding thing" was his age of 21 years.[6][11]

Flannery signed with EMI Records in 2007.[2][6] That same year he was the subject of a programme called Mytunes, broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on November 29.[9] He performed on RTÉ Two's Other Voices television programme in 2008.[2] This appearance led to increased interest in Flannery's music in Ireland.[13]

White Lies[edit]

Mick Flannery performing live at Dublin's Tower Records in 2008

Flannery's second studio album White Lies was released on 12 September 2008,[6] achieving a top ten position on the Irish Albums Chart and later going platinum in Ireland.[3][14] On the day of the album's release Flannery performed "Tomorrow's Papers" on The Late Late Show.[15][16] The song contributed to the increasing popularity of the singer-songwriter.[17] entertainment.ie's Lauren Murphy said: "White Lies may not be a perfect album, but it's certainly a promising step forward for a real talent".[11] RTÉ reviewer Harry Guerin commented: "If you're adamant that Ireland may sink with another singer-songwriter on tour, then this is a record to seek out; you won't notice the time passing and the nation will remain afloat".[13]

Flannery began a tour of Ireland after the release of White Lies.[7] He performed a duet of "Christmas Past" with Lisa Hannigan in December 2008 after Today FM's Tony Fenton paired them together for a radio show broadcast from a rooftop.[10][18] He joined Hannigan at a show in Vicar Street to perform the same duet that month.[19] "Tomorrow's Paper" was translated into the Irish language for a CD titled Ceol '09, an annual compilation released by Seachtain na Gaeilge.[20] The Irish version was recorded in forty minutes at a studio in Dublin's Merrion Square.[20] Flannery performed a cover version of "The River" on The Ray D'Arcy Show's Discover Ireland Feel Good Tour stopover in Carlingford and Cooley Peninsula in March 2009.[21] A deluxe edition of White Lies, which featured a duet of the song "Christmas Past" with Kate Walsh, was released in 2009.[10][22]

Flannery's largest headlining performance in Dublin at this stage occurred at Vicar Street on 25 May 2009.[23] He performed alongside John Spillane at Live at the Marquee in Cork on 9 July 2009.[17][24][25][26] Flannery said being asked to perform there was "daunting [...] In many ways I have drifted into this career and still have to pinch myself regularly to make sure I am not imagining it all".[27] He also performed at the Bloom Festival as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of The Rose of Tralee in 2009.[28] He made an appearance on the Crawdaddy Stage at Electric Picnic 2009.[29][30][31] On 31 December 2009, he performed a date at the Cork Opera House as part of celebrations marking the end of the decade.[32][33] He has sold out several other venues around Ireland and has also toured the UK.[16][34]

Red to Blue[edit]

Flannery released his third studio album, Red to Blue, on 30 March 2012. It spent three weeks at number one in the Irish Albums Chart and singles "Gone Forever" and "No Way To Live" enjoyed a lot of airplay. The Red to Blue tour was a major success for Flannery, featuring sold-out shows all over Ireland, most notably the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, one of Flannery's biggest venues to date. The tour finished with two sold-out shows at the Róisín Dubh in Galway. He's been making head in Germany, living in Berlin.[35]

Mick Flannery performing at the music festival "Bardentreffen" 2013 in Nuremberg

Style[edit]

Flannery composes original lyrics and music.[9] Among the topics he has written about is the subject of heartbreak, for which he has drawn on past experiences.[12] He read the literary works of Charles Bukowski, Jonathan Miller and John Steinbeck from a young age.[12] His biggest musical influences are Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, once sending a letter to Waits but receiving no reply.[6] Flannery attended shows by Cohen at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and Waits in the Phoenix Park when they came to Ireland in 2008.[6] He is also fond of current music and likes the lyrics of Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys.[6] The RTÉ Guide once described his lyrics as "so personal they seemed carved from his very soul" and his humour was said to be "as dry as a Good Friday in Glenstall Abbey [sic]".[12]

Personal life[edit]

Flannery's sister Sarah is a past winner of the Esat Young Scientist Exhibition.[36] His mother's family live in Coolroe near Killarney.[36] Flannery has a difficult relationship with his younger brother David, whom he had to reprimand regularly when they were younger due to his 'peeping Tom' tendency among the villagers, namely an elderly woman who once knitted the young David a pair of socks. Mick states, in one of his more intimate interviews "David seemed to take the socks as a gesture of Mrs Murphy's sexual desire for him".

Flannery is known to be a shy individual.[6][7] He has admitted experiencing strong stage fright before performances.[10] He does not often use a computer, preferring instead to ask others to update his Facebook and MySpace accounts, although this leaves him with "really sick" feelings when people come to him at his shows to thank him for replying to their messages.[8]

Flannery tends to socialise with his fellow stonemasons instead of with other singer-songwriters.[6] They prefer to talk about sex instead of music.[12] He also enjoys playing poker.[10] He has admitted: "I'm a sour bollocks. I wouldn't be the life and soul of any party. I'd be sitting in the corner".[12]

Mick Flannery performing at the music festival "Bardentreffen" 2013 in Nuremberg

Band members[edit]

Current[edit]

  • Karen O'Doherty — Violin, vocals
  • Yvonne Daly — Vocals
  • Christian Best — Drums

Former[edit]

  • Aaron Dillon — Harmonica (notably "In the Gutter" from the album Evening Train)[37]

Discography[edit]

Studio Albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
IRL
[38]
UK
AUS
2007 Evening Train 84
2008 White Lies
  • Released: 18 September 2008
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD, Download
6
2012 Red to Blue
  • Released: 30 March 2012
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD, Download
1
2014 By The Rule
  • Released: 9 May 2014
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD, Download
1
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Extended plays[edit]

  • Mick Flannery EP (2002) [39]

Awards[edit]

The Irish Times placed him at number forty-six in a list of "The 50 Best Irish Acts Right Now" published in April 2009,[40] commenting on his album White Lies: "With this stunning exhibition of the gravel-voiced musician’s abilities, Flannery turned his hand to mournful piano ballads and catchy guitar tunes with a flair that far surpasses his 25 years".[41]

International Songwriting Competition[edit]

Flannery won in two categories in the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville, Tennessee: "In the Gutter" in the category of Folk Singer-Songwriter and "The Tender" in the category of Lyrics Only.[2][4] This came from a panel of judges which featured several renowned songwriters, including Flannery's idol, Tom Waits.[2][3][6][7] He was the first Irish musician to win in this competition.[2][9] The two songs featured on the album Evening Train.[16]

Year Recipient Award Result
2004 "In the Gutter" Folk Singer-Songwriter Won
2004 "The Tender" Lyrics Only Won

Hot Press Reader's Poll[edit]

Flannery was Hot Press's Most Promising Act in its 2009 Reader's Poll.[3]

Year Recipient Award Result
2009 Mick Flannery Most Promising Act Won

Meteor Music Awards[edit]

Flannery won Best Irish Male at the 2009 Meteor Awards.[3][16][36][42] The result was unexpected as beforehand the winner was anticipated to be Duke Special or Jape.[43]

Year Recipient Award Result
2009 Mick Flannery Best Irish Male Won

Choice Music Prize[edit]

In 2009, Flannery was nominated for the Choice Music Prize.[44][45][46] He was one of seven of the ten nominated acts to perform at the award ceremony in Vicar Street on 4 March.[47]

Flannery lost to Jape, though he was mentioned in the acceptance speech, as frontman Richie Egan mentioned what his mother had told him before the award: “They all deserve the award – sure my mother even told me that Mick Flannery was going to win, she said you're good, Ritchie [sic], but he's gorgeous”.[48]

Year Recipient Award Result
2009 White Lies Irish Album of the Year 2008 Nominated

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MICK!". Official website of Mick Flannery. 28 November 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Harry Guerin. "Other Voices". Other Voices. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Top artists to pay a festive visit to the INEC". The Kerryman. December 23, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Stone mason sings". Drogheda Independent. December 2, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ Linda McGee (September 30, 2008). "Mick Flannery Interview". RTÉ. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Aoife McDonnell (September 8, 2008). "Interview: Mick Flannery". State. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Eamon Carr (September 18, 2008). "A Rolling Stone: Ex-stonemason Mick Flannery looks set to hit the big time". Evening Herald. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Eoin Butler (August 1, 2009). "Talk time". The Irish Times. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "You have two well-received albums under your belt, but you’re actually a stonemason by trade. Are you finished with all that now? No, I did two weeks helping a buddy finish a job before Christmas. He’ll call on me now and again if I’m not gigging and ask me if I want to come out and do a day. We wouldn’t be carving gravestones or anything. We’d do the fronts of houses, entrance walls, stuff like that. Using a lump hammer and chisel? Yeah. It’s hard work, especially in the winter. But, I’ll tell you, when I left it to do music . . . it was weird at first. In stonemasonry, you’d do a long day’s work and sleep soundly at night because you’re properly tired. When you’re doing gigs, you’re more mentally tired than anything else. You have a couple of drinks and try and get to sleep. But it’s not the same. So getting back to stonemasonry for a day or two when I can is always nice. [...] It’s a bit of a culture shock then, isn’t it, moving from that into the world of media or public relations? God yeah, there’s so much nonsense. Take MySpace and Facebook and all of that, for example. I don’t get on a computer often, but I have people working on those sites on my behalf. From time to time, they’d send out messages to people. So then these people approach me at gigs to thank me for wishing them a happy birthday and I have no idea what they’re talking about. I find that really sick, you know? [...] Your third album is mostly written. Do you have particular ambitions for it? I’m not hung up about record sales, but I’ve always wanted to record one of those albums that lodges itself in the public consciousness, that has its own stamp creatively, rather than commercially. Something like Tom Wait’s Closing Time, Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska or Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. That’s what I aspire to." 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Programme 1: Mick Flannery". RTÉ Radio 1. November 29, 2007. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Ed Power (November 20, 2009). "Q&A: Mick Flannery". Irish Independent. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c Lauren Murphy (September 23, 2008). "Mick Flannery – White Lies". entertainment.ie. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Star of the Day: The Quiet Man". RTÉ Guide. September 19, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Harry Guerin (September 11, 2008). "Mick Flannery – White Lies". RTÉ. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Mick Flannery for Dublin headliner". Hot Press. October 7, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "The singer's sophomore White Lies release made the top 10 in Ireland, with a healthy amount of national radio play building him an enthusiastic following." 
  15. ^ "Friday, 12 September 2008". RTÉ. September 12, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b c d Bill Browne (December 17, 2009). "Mick's in the house for New Year's Eve". The Corkman. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Mick and John sing by the banks". The Corkman. June 18, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Lisa's Duet with Mick Flannery". Official website of Lisa Hannigan. December 9, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2010. [dead link]
  19. ^ Ed Power (December 15, 2009). "Lisa musters the chutzpah to go solo in spotlight". Irish Independent. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Jackie Hayden (March 6, 2009). "It’s only rock ‘n’ ceol". Hot Press. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  21. ^ "D'Arcy's Ray of sunshine: Radio show broadcasts from Carlingford". The Argus. March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  22. ^ Linda McGee (December 16, 2009). "Mick Flannery's Christmas". RTÉ. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Etc: Choice gigs". The Irish Times. January 30, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "Choice music prize nominees Mick Flannery, Halfset and Messiah J The Expert have all booked gigs in Dublin. Flannery plays his biggest headline gig at Vicar Street on May 25th; Halfset team up with Adrian Crowley for a Whelan’s double-header on March 13th; and MJEX hit The Academy on the same night." 
  24. ^ Bill Browne (January 7, 2010). "Spillane tunes up for Kilworth". The Corkman. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  25. ^ "More names for Marquee". The Irish Times. February 20, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "More acts have been announced for the Live at the Marquee series of gigs in Cork. The additional acts are Blondie (June 17th), Simple Minds (25th), Bell X1 (25th), Boyzone (28th), Crosby, Stills & Nash (29th), Anastacia (30th), Des Bishop (July 5th), and Mick Flannery & John Spillane (9th)." 
  26. ^ Bill Browne (July 2, 2009). "Marquee keeps the summer rocking". The Corkman. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  27. ^ Bill Browne (February 26, 2009). "Top Irish acts in the mix this year". The Corkman. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  28. ^ Simon Brouder (March 25, 2009). "A 'Blooming' good day out to raise funds for Festival". The Kerryman. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  29. ^ "The home front: guaranteed Irish at the Picnic". Irish Independent. 29 August 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  30. ^ "The Insider: 23/07/2009". Evening Herald. July 23, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  31. ^ Jim Carroll (August 28, 2009). "Pick of the Picnic". The Irish Times. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "Also playing: Damien Dempsey, Amadou Mariam, Fionn Regan, Echo the Bunnymen, Okkervil River, Mick Flannery, Villagers, Halfset" 
  32. ^ Tony Clayton-Lea (December 31, 2009). "Rocking out the decade". The Irish Times. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "In Cork (Opera House), Mick Flannery does his accomplished singer- songwriter thing, while in Galway (Róisín Dubh) Fight Like Apes, Messiah J the Expert, Disconnect 4, Le Galaxie and Feed the Bears pave the way for a sore head on New Year’s Day." 
  33. ^ Tony Clayton-Lea (December 24, 2009). "Going out: The Gig guide". The Irish Times. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "New Year’s Eve best bets around the country include Mick Flannery (Cork), Jerry Fish (Dublin) and Fight Like Apes (Galway)." 
  34. ^ Maria Pepper (August 5, 2009). "How Barry bagged Imelda for sellout Wexford show". Wexford People. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Mick Flannery takes Germany... slowly". RTÉ Ten. October 31, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2012. 
  36. ^ a b c Genevieve Carbery (April 18, 2009). "My Holidays". The Irish Times. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "I visited my sister [the former Young Scientist winner Sarah Flannery] in San Francisco. She’s lived over there for the last couple of years. [...] I like going down to Kerry. My mother’s family live down there in Coolroe, outside Killarney. It’s nice there, with beautiful mountains, lakes and natural landscape." 
  37. ^ "Daring debut album launch". Drogheda Independent. May 21, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  38. ^ Discography Mick Flannery. irishcharts.com. Retrieved on 2012-04-10.
  39. ^ "Mick Flannery (EP)". Official website of Mick Flannery. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  40. ^ "The next 50 bands". The Irish Times. 2009-04-10. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  41. ^ Jim Carroll, Tony Clayton-Lea, Sinéad Gleeson, Lauren Murphy (2009-04-03). "The 50 best Irish music acts right now". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 2009-08-16. "2008 was a good year for Mick Flannery. The former stonemason had hung up his chisel in search of musical fulfilment several years back, yet his 2005 debut album (Evening Train) failed to make any huge impression, despite the Corkonian’s talent as a writer and performer. Last year’s Choice- nominated White Lies changed everything. With this stunning exhibition of the gravel-voiced musician’s abilities, Flannery turned his hand to mournful piano ballads and catchy guitar tunes with a flair that far surpasses his 25 years." 
  42. ^ "Sticking to The Script". The Irish Times. March 20, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "Imelda May, Mick Flannery and Westlife also took home awards." 
  43. ^ Ronan McGreevy (March 18, 2009). "Meteoric rise continues for The Script". The Irish Times. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "Cork singer-songwriter Mick Flannery pulled off something of a surprise, winning best Irish male in a strong field and ahead of the highly-tipped Duke Special and Choice Music Prize winner Jape." 
  44. ^ Eoin Butler (January 14, 2009). "The Script debut album makes Choice shortlist". The Irish Times. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  45. ^ Eoin Butler (January 15, 2009). "Choice script upset by inclusion of . . . The Script". The Irish Times. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  46. ^ Sarah Stack (January 15, 2009). "The Script favourites for top music award". Evening Herald. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  47. ^ "7 of 10 acts to play at Choice Prize show". The Irish Times. February 13, 2009. Retrieved January 9, 2010. "Fight Like Apes, Mick Flannery, Halfset, Jape, Messiah J The Expert and R.S.A.G. will perform at the ceremony, which takes place at Dublin’s Vicar Street on March 4th. Lisa Hannigan, Oppenheimer and The Script are unavailable due to prior touring commitments, and Belfast DJ/musician David Holmes does not perform live." 
  48. ^ Caitrina Cody (March 5, 2009). "Jolly Jape admits he's surprised to scoop Choice gong". Irish Independent. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 

External links[edit]