With Laura Marling covered in yesterday's post, let's now turn our attention to the other co-headliner of the "Fee Fi Fo Fum Tour" wrapping up at the Rivoli on October 4 - Johnny Flynn. The 25-year old, who just released his debut in A Larum, is either a Shakespearean actor with a musical side-gig or a musician who moonlights as a Shakespearean actor, but is a rare talent whichever way you look at it.
With his band The Sussex Wit and armed with mandolins, banjos, cellos and spoons, Flynn cuts a more traditional-sounding path than his musical peers, and as such is perhaps a little less accessible from the indie-pop world than, say, Noah & The Whale but in a world where The Decemberists can achieve as much as they have, it's hard to imagine Flynn and company will be discriminated against for their faithful approach to folk music.
On A Larum - a term from old English for "alarm" and used frequently in Shakespeare's stage directions, if you needed some context - the material veers from thoughtful, almost mournful ballads to more rollicking fare that wouldn't be out of place pouring out of an old English public house on a Saturday night. Tying them together is Flynn's strong, authoritative voice and densely poetic and evocative lyrics - early Dylan is a lofty but not inappropriate reference point. Though tourmate Marling is currently getting the bulk of the attention from media types, they and audiences will ignore Flynn at their peril.
WNYC and NPR are both offering up sessions with Flynn and his band while For The Records helpfully points out that he will also be playing an in-store at Criminal Records at 5PM on October 4, in advance of the Rivoli show. As mentioned yesterday, the Rivoli is mighty small so those of you who hesitate to get tickets, this may be your best bet to catch him.