reNew – Pat Flynn

reNew - Pat FlynnEvery so often a recording gets by us. It may be that we didn’t receive a copy, or sometimes one just gets lost in the shuffle among the dozens of CDs we get each month.

One such case is reNew, the 2014 project from Pat Flynn. Most bluegrass fans remember Pat primarily for his role in the final edition of New Grass Revival. He was guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the band that also included Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, and John Cowan.

All three of his NGR bandmates have been prominent as solo artists since the band broke up in 1989, while Flynn has remained equally active in music, but more as a session player, producer, and side man. He’s continued writing as well, and had released prior solo projects reQuest in 2004, and reVision in 2007.

With reNew, Pat is front and center on lead vocals and guitars, with 7 of the album’s 10 tracks being ones he had written or co-written. The other 3 include a pair of instrumental medleys of traditional tunes, and a rockin’ acoustic version of Jimi Hendrix’s Fire with John Cowan on bass and harmony vocals, and Darrell Scott on banjo and harmony.

That cut is representative of totality of Flynn’s music, from New Grass through to today. High energy, taking musical chances, and incorporating myriad outside influences into a tradition-fueled, yet iconoclastic approach to modern bluegrass and Americana.

If you were a fan of his songs, singing and guitar playing with NGR, this newest release is likely to pique your interest as well. Tracks like Kingdom Come recall the Revival’s driving, rock-inflected style, while Change Yourself follows their passion for acoustic reggae.

Pat shows off his guitar chops with mashups of Little Rock Getaway and I Don’t Love Nobody, and later with Oh, Susannah and St. Anne’s Reel, plus Buck Owen’s classic instrumental theme, Buckaroo, to which he has added an additional section.

Others like Early This Morning, California Highway, and Take Me To Forever might fall more accurately into the alt-country or Americana category, through Flynn’s acoustic guitar and mandolin keeps things close to earth.

He is supported on various tracks by familiar faces/voices like The Isaacs, Steve Bryant, Rob Ickes, Dave Pomeroy, and Jason Mowery.

Sorry we missed this one when it was first released last Summer. We trust that Pat’s serious fans didn’t.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.