Johnny Flynn // Been Listening

First appeared on Never Enough Notes on July 12 2010

Released on June 7 2010 on Transgressive Records

Mr Flynn is back, and this time he is in the midst of the annoyingly labelled ‘nu-folk’ heyday.

First cutting his performing teeth playing fiddle with Emmy The Great, Flynn will be touring the UK when he and The Sussex Wit provide support for Mumford & Sons in the Autumn. He has also created a small YouTube storm with Laura Marling covering Jeffrey Lewis and Diane Cluck’s ‘Travel Light’, scoring over 237, 000 views. Marling and Flynn also collaborated on Been Listening for the song ‘The Water’, which sways mournfully like a small boat bobbing on lapping water.

Former single, ‘Kentucky Pill’ kicks off the album: guitar plucking and horns, full of sunshine. Chronicling the twists and turns of life in a light and airy way, songs like ‘Churlish May’ show why folk really is the best genre for telling stories and it is obvious that Flynn is a natural at bringing a story to life.

Although the music seems to be simple, the classically-trained musician also comes through in the drama and colour created by the music. The strings and brass add excitement and Been Listening is a slight departure from the more traditional debut, A Larum which was released in 2008. Keen to show that he can diversify, the next single to be released from the album is ‘Barnacled Warship’, out on August 16, a track with tones of regret but a bold fighting spirit, which also shows a sophistication and capability which means that Flynn should be taken just as seriously as his peers.

We all know that trends go round and round and right now folk is very much on a high. The nu-folk posse are not reinventing the genre completely but, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

8/10

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