Album Review of

Written by Joe Ross
September 11, 2014 - 12:00am EDT
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Pat Flynn’s solo triology began with a project called "reQuest" in 2004. Then the guitarist/vocalist served up a rollicking "reVision" in 2007 with plenty of eclectic musical intensity and artistry incorporating twenty other players and singers. Now, in 2014, Flynn completes the circle with his latest, “reNew.”

Each song is given unique treatment with arrangement, acoustic instrumentation and percussion. Like his previous solo projects, we hear plenty of spicy harmony vocals. Of the eighteen musicians participating, harmonies are sung by Ben Isaacs, Becky Isaacs, Sonya Isaacs, Heather Lawson, Rentto Aguas, Eddie Aguas, Walter Aguas, John Cowan, George Pendergrass, Darrel Scott and Flynn himself.  While some of his more pop-flavored (“California Highway” and “Take Me To Forever”) and reggae offerings (“Change Yourself”) are full of instrumentation and vocals, his guitar medley of “Little Rock Getaway” and “I Don’t Love Nobody” is much leaner with only guitar and bass, and dedicated to the memory of Doc Watson. Flynn also provides hot flatpicked guitar on Bob Morris’ “Buckeroo,” and we also hear his mandolin, bass and even some percussion on many tracks.     

Bluegrassers will remember Flynn’s sojourn with New Grass Revival in the 1980s, but his music in recent decades is far from bluegrass.  Darrell Scott’s banjo only finds its way into one cut (a highly-charged pyrotechnic cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”) that might even sacrifice a little emotion from being pushed too quickly.  At the same time, the driving influences and flavors of bluegrass (as well as several other genres) clearly make their appearance in Flynn’s music. Tastes of Dobro, lap steel, fiddle, mandolin, accordion and Irish whistle embellish some of the beautifully-rendered songs.  Jim Hoke’s whistle and harmonicas are a pleasure to hear in the “Irish Cowboy Medley: Oh, Susannah / St. Anne’s Reel” that are given a pleasantly lilting treatment.  

Flynn's many adventurous musical pursuits are well documented in his impressive resume. Pat's a five-time winner of Frets magazine's readers poll for "Best Acoustic Guitarist." That made him a member of their Gallery of the Greats. As a session guitarist, Pat's contributed to about 400 albums, including many award-winners like Randy Travis' "Rise and Shine" and Lee Anne Womack's "I Hope You Dance." He's produced many up-and-coming acts like Cadillac Sky.  

Like the other albums in the triology, Flynn’s music continues to offer plenty of hustle, steaming vocals, and nimble-fingered instrumental breaks. Flynn closes “reNew” with his rocking 11-minute original entitled “Take Me to Forever.” Throughout his travels, he’s “always following the feeling on any old wind that blows.” Pat Flynn’s redHot music is an exciting musical escapade, an epic and poetic odyssey that provides a joyful ride. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)