Mick Flannery has recently released his eighth studio album, ‘Goodtime Charlie’. Recorded in Cork City with long-time collaborator and producer Christian Best, this collection of fourteen tracks spans various genres, from Folk ballads to alt-pop and Americana. Notably, it marks the first international artist to release on ‘Oh Boy Records,’ the beloved Nashville label founded by John Prine.
Renowned for writing songs with fluency, expressing layered aspects of the human condition, its flaws, triumphs, and general uncertainty. Mick’s latest offering – ‘Goodtime Charlie’ is no exception.
Writing for this album started pre-pandemic whilst touring in the USA in January 2020. ‘Give Me Up,’ written in Los Angeles with producer Tony Buchen and Australian musician, producer and songwriter Justin Stanley.’ OKLA’ (“a love letter to a dead dream”) had been written in Nashville with writer Adam Landry.
Amidst lockdowns, Mick turned to virtual collaborations. His weekly online sessions with Ana Egge yielded three album tracks: “Neon Tonight” (“about a band waiting to go onstage, feeling nervous and excited”), “Machine” (“a song about an emotionally distant mechanic, who just loves driving, wondering why people lead such complicated lives”) and “Someone to Tell it To” (“a song about a journey and the gratitude of having someone traveling with you”). Another virtual collaboration emerged with rising star Tianna Esperanza (the granddaughter of Punk royalty Palmolive from The Slits), on the song “Old Friend,” this would be first of three duets on the record. The second, the folk-noir track, “The Fact.” Mick is joined by Valerie June, an American singer-songwriter whom he has previously shared the stage with on both sides of the Atlantic, most recently having Valerie as his special guest in Dublin at The National Museum of Ireland last month.
The third duet is the previously released ‘Minnesota’, addressing the relationship between individuals and their state. Where Anaïs Mitchell’s voice takes the lead. Their collaboration extended to a live performance of the duet at The Cork Opera House this past weekend. Joined by Anais’ band ‘Bonny Light Horseman,’ and arranged by Bryce Dressner for the RTE Concert Orchestra.
Consequently Goodtime Charlie has more collaborations and co-writes than on any previous records. “It sparks you out of your comfort zone,” Mick says, “It opens up new perspectives, you wonder ‘how would someone else do this?’ – the result is the best album of Mick’s already stellar career. Whatever the other voices add, whether on the record or in the writing, it creates a suite of songs that twist and turn surprise and engage like no others to this date.
“It’s more fun too,” Mick notes, “I don’t take myself as seriously as I did when I was 20. Back then, you’re all about yourself. I’m open to more fun now, trying things, hence, Goodtime Charlie.”
The song ‘Goodtime Charlie,’ the albums namesake sets the tone for a game of two halves. With ‘What They Say’, ‘Morning Rain’, the aforementioned ‘Give Me Up’ and ‘Neon Tonight’ lending to a free-spirited, 70’s feel. A nod to The Band and Van Morrison of the era. There is a nostalgia weaved through these songs that juxtapose the deep and soulful ballads that make up the other half of this epic piece of work.
Today also sees the premier of the official video for the recently released single “Young.” The song has been described as ‘an instinctive, soulful study of adolescence, free will and finding the energy to pick the important fights.’ Directed by Mark Logan from Dublin’s CLTV Films, who has recently directed music documentaries for Fontaines DC as well as Dublin’s famous ‘The Busk’, of the process Logan said:
“I believe we live in a time that is devoid of courage, the courage to stand up and speak out for what is right and what we believe in. I believe the youth have been deprived of such an important becoming. Instead they are lost in a sea of technology and isolation. From each other and themselves. In this film I’ve imagined the four distinct stages of one man’s life.”
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