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John Flynn

Poor Man's Diamonds – 2014 (John Flynn)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by John Flynn

Eleven albums on, John Flynn's trajectory has become a well-travelled road, thanks in large part to an unblinking commitment to underplaying any sort of overt sentiment in favor of a weary yet resolute view of the world that spins around him. Flynn is clearly well versed when it comes to turning his own personal perspectives and observations into lessons that can easily resonate with the public at large, and yet he's still in need of capturing a larger audience.

Whether it's the Celtic hymn he sings in the memory of his mother ("The Pennywhistle and the Rose") or the upbeat narrative that declares an undying commitment to craft ("Bury Me With My Guitar"), Flynn comes across as driven and determined, intent on sharing insights and emotions with whoever cares to listen.

In that regard, "Bury Me With My Guitar" and "Like Woody Done" become something akin to signature songs, and like Kris Kristofferson - a friend, collaborator and obvious mentor - as well as John Prine, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Tom Paxton and others of that ilk, Flynn expresses himself as something akin to an old school troubadour, one who's rugged, relentless and unafraid to offer certain truths gleaned from that worldly wisdom. While bluegrass, blues, folk and burnished narratives make up the mix, "Poor Man's Diamonds" transcends any single genre, utilizing instead a singular determination to mines universal appeal.

Regrettably, Flynn is the sort of artist that often waits a lifetime to find a wider world of acceptance, even though that's clearly his due. He'll likely pick up one fan at a time despite touring and recording relentlessly in hopes of attracting greater notice. It's fortunate that he remains undeterred because when it comes to qualities like honesty and integrity, it would be a far sadder world that might find them in short supply.