Tom Flannery’s new album, Under the Covers, is one of the most unique albums released by the singer-songwriter. Flannery himself only appears on one track; the rest are his songs interpreted by other artists. The result is magical and truly captures Flannery’s brilliance as a songwriter.
There is not a bad song on this album. Artists include many of Flannery’s friends, including Lorne Clarke, whose rendition of “The Show” beautifully harbors the feelings of a big league baseball player unwittingly reaching his end in the game. Kris and Julie Kehr kick off the album with "Fool For You Again," a melancholy ode to relationships:
Outside it's cold...the wind united
it's blowing us to and fro
we're growing old like a landscape blighted
whispering "even though...
Likewise, “In Lieu of You,” is another agonizingly realistic slice of life and love Flannery does so well and captured with an emotional intensity by John Canjar. There’s “Leaving Home” sung by George Wesley and “Don’t Kill My Heart,” by Tim McGurl, sounding a bit like Neil Young on that track. Josh Pratt lends his voice to a song he co-wrote with Flannery entitled “The Auctioneer.” Other artists include Neil Luckett, Joe “Wiggy” Wegleski, Van Wagner, Bret Alexander, Michael Jerling, Shannon Marsyada and Lisa Moscatiello.
Hearing some of Flannery’s words sung in the female voice is the most wonderful thing about this album, and several artists take their turn with the material. The standout is 17-year-old Asialena, from Scranton, Pennsylvania. She knocks it out of the park with “12 O’Clock Whistle,” singing in a voice that betrays her actual age:
Not sure how it happened
years come creeping
like the color fading
from a radio flyer
like rollin' and tumblin'
from an old circus wire
Flannery himself closes the album with “Mud Run,” a song about an 1888 train wreck that took the lives of more than 60 people. Leave it to Flannery to take a disaster and turn it into poetry.
Flannery has always been able to draw me in with his lyrics, striking personal cords that ring with a truth in my own life. Under the Covers highlights the best of Flannery and hearing the different interpretations of a voice I have come to know and love over the years gives this album and Flannery’s music a fresh perspective.
Under the Covers will be available for download from Fool’s Hill Music.