Fourth album finds Flannery in fine form

by Gazette Reporter

Next week sees the release of By the Rule, the most assured and accomplished record from the Cork singer songwriter Mick Flannery, which is saying something considering the quality of his previous releases.
Opening with lead track Get What You Give, By The Rule is an emotional waltz through the 13 tracks, with some gorgeous backing instrumentation supporting Flannery’s voice, which has tinges of the timbre of Eddie Vedder and Neil Young at times, but is most uniquely his own, especially on the achingly beautiful Even Now.
GazetteMusic sat down with Mick in Dublin last week and we started by talking about the new record and how it differs from his previous work.
“This is an exciting time for me, I’m looking forward to the record coming out. I like the way it was recorded, everyone playing together live. I like the feeling you get from that. Listening to things I have done in the past, tracks with overdubs, you can tell the difference.”
Mick moved to Berlin for seven months last year, and it was as a result of being there that this set of songs emerged.
“I had a few tracks going to Berlin, but when I got back, they were all pretty much finished, lyrically at least.
“I’m not good at setting myself the task of writing songs, if it doesn’t occur to me. I tinker around with the guitar every day, not with any set goals. I moved to Berlin, but I didn’t have a huge social scene, so I had more time to tinker around on my own in my flat, and that naturally produced more introspective thoughts. The new songs I had to work on a lot, but I was glad they all came in that time. It was a good time compared to my usual work rate, a compressed [period] of productivity for me.”
The songs that emerged from his Berlin days make up By The Rule, and they were given another dimension when Mick brought them to the band he brought together for this record.
“Playing the songs with the band, there were a few structural things that needed help, but for the most part they stayed the same. I don’t dictate to the band, we pretty much do what we do. We had two days rehearsal time before going into the studio. It was nice that way.
“The way the record has come out – I am pleased. The way it happened, having short rehearsal time and short studio time, could have backfired but it came together really well. It’s a nice record; I enjoy the organic-ness of it.”
Something else Mick is acclaimed for is his live show, which he is taking across the country throughout May.
“I had a great experience playing with this new band, it’s exciting to play with new people, they give a different taste to things. That’s one of the privileges from my aspect of things, I get to pick and choose [the people I get to play with].”
Mick has always had a love of music – “My family were all singers, and you had to have a song for a party piece” – and first picked up a guitar when he was 14.
“If I was speaking to that kid now, he wouldn’t believe where I am now. He wouldn’t believe I went to Australia last year and played my music to people out there.”
The progression that has led him to this point in his career, releasing his fourth album, is something he puts down to finding belief in his own ability and talent throughout his journey in music so far.
“It’s down to growing confidence and growing up. I made some mistakes but I learned and things became less intimidating and you start to believe in your own opinion, more comfortable in yourself. This is the happiest I have been with a record coming out.”

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