Reviews of Just this Side of Here
“The pleasantly jaunty ‘Like a Breeze’, which opens Australian rural country singer Spike Flynn’s third album is something of an outlier from the rest of the album.
The remaining eight tracks are much grittier, extended (one clocks in at over ten minutes) and more in the vein of Townes van Zandt than anything more mainstream. Largely story songs, presented in a talking blues style, they’re dark, rueful, resigned and utterly engrossing.
In ‘Incident in the Stony Desert’ the narrator finds the possibility of love ‘in the darkness before the dawn’, but in the following ‘Hey Girl’ he looks back with regret on a love lost, with the refrain ‘comfort falls like rain in a drought/ It’s just never enough’ and the recognition that ‘hell’s just a place inside your own head’. But despite the general sense of loss and lost chances that pervades things, Flynn ends on a positive note with ‘You’re Going to Get Through’ and its mantra that ‘in your heart you’re free’.
Just this Side of Here is an album that restores your faith in ‘one man, one guitar’ sets, and shows that the best of them – and this is one of those – still have much to say and much worth hearing.”
Jeremy Searle, Americana UK magazine.
“… They are stories that live on acoustic emotions worthy of the best American tradition, carved in desert rocks and parched by the relentless Australian sun but which could easily come to life in the images of Wim Wenders from “Paris, Texas” or “Don’t Knock At My Door” or between the lines of Sam Shepard’s stories. Three discs that have increasingly brought him to the attention of fans starting from the debut entitled “It’s Alright”, repeated by the excellent “Rough Landing” which has opened many doors allowing him to open the concerts of Peter Rowan and John McCutcheon among others. Now “Just This Side Of Here” continues a well-traced path in which the ballads, reminiscent of greats like Guy Clark and John Prine, often expand beyond five minutes, sometimes reaching nine or ten, without ever being tired or exhausted. . Hoarse and expressive voice, guitar picking ‘that owes a lot to folk and bluegrass, harmonica that peeks out here and there between the folds of a story whose chapters follow a precise line in which dobro, fiddle, slide guitars and also, surprisingly , a flugelhorn to seal an originality always pursued by the Australian musician. Nostalgia and melancholy pervade the album, from the introductory “Like A Breeze” to the natural closure entrusted to “You’re Going To Get Through”, a work that has its highest points in the intense and descriptive “Incident In The Stony Desert” and “Nth West Country Dance Floor “, In” Father O’Connell “,” Smoke At The River Bend “and” Minstrel Man “, poetically rich and pervaded by an incisive lyrical style. Spike Flynn deserves the attention of those who don’t stop at appearances but want to dig deep into the songs to penetrate the poet’s inner essence.
Remo Ricaldone, Lonestar magazine
Some reviews for Rough Landing and It’s Alright.
“…The second CD of Spike Flynn confirms the suspicions I had after listening to his debut album It’s Alright. This man is a great asset to the singer-songwriter guild!”
Real Roots Cafe
“…The thirteen songs (on Rough Landing) are in many cases simply more beautiful than those from his already so well-loved predecessor (It’s Alright). Recommended especially to fans of the material of classical singer-songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and John Prine.”
Wonderful words delivered in a true country style. Songs like Trying to Get Home Blues, Frozen Words, Ragin’ against the Wind and All you Lonesome Hobos speak to the inner strength in all of us and our need to endure. This artist is a really fine example of the talent that exists out there in music land but sadly, under the radar. Highly recommended
Lost Highway |
“… His songs, such as Trying to Get Home Blues, All You Lonesome Hobos, Re-Incarnation Train Whistle Blues – and even the titles – are those of songs influenced by people like Ramblin ‘Jack Elliott and Guy Clark. The sound is spartan and rustic and is best thought of as a carriage for the stories he tells.”
Fabio Carbone, Roots Highway
“… Flynn has a good voice and writes songs that flow steadily allowing his voice to quietly make his points along the journey. This record has a lot of rootsy, gutsy appeal and should satisfy listeners who enjoy good western singer songwriters …”
© David Hintz, Folkworld, Washington DC.
“… They are songs that could have been written at any time in the last century or so and certainly could have been written about the wide open spaces and pitiless economic forces of America in 1880 or 1930 rather than Spike’s own experiences in the New South Wales of the last forty years or so. …For all that his focus is on the downbeat, the message that Spike seeks to bring us in distilling his experience is that we’re all in it together; there’s no bitterness and recrimination here, just a reiterated wish that we all find our way to good, or better, times. It’s all there in the last verse of That’s The Way It Goes :
“Do the best that you can, be true to love and your fellow man
Always try to lend a helping hand – that’s the way it goes”.”
John Davy, Flyin’ Shoes
“… shows the hand of a true master storyteller. His lyrics are pure and his own experiences inspires these poetic lyrics, which shows a great willingness to accept life as it is….. Brilliant stuff!”
Cis Van Looy, Keys and Chords
” (with the) opening song It’s Aright which clocks in at nearly nine minutes, Flynn is obviously not in a hurry to tell his tales. It’s Alright could have fallen out of an early Tom Wait’s album with its vignettes of small town life and the smoky saxophone that accompanies it. The sax is present also on Silver Nitrate Serenade, another lengthy mood piece with lyrics that catch an emotion and a moment in time so well such as
“the strong black coffee shoots my nerves, full of tin foil and memories and rust, and a mind almost spent checks its change for the rent.”,,,, All in all this is terrific stuff.”
Paul Kerr, Maverick Magazine
“… Storytelling that allows comparisons with the work of Bob Dylan, Bob Martin and Sam Baker. I say no more!”
Rein van den Berg, Johnny’s Garden
“Spike Flynn is a wonderful songwriter from Australia. His shorter songs are little slices of life that perfectly capture the emotions of his characters in just a few lines. But his longer songs are a revelation. These are perfect noir short stories, dripping with atmosphere. As with any good short story, the plotting is tight, with the resolutions feeling completely satisfying. Silver Nitrate Serenade is a superb example.”
Darius Rips, OliverdiPlace
“… Penny Whistle Lament – a story for us all. Dreams, songs, altruism, values, and goodness, turned to dust by our own reckless indulgences and destructiveness, and carried away on any passing breeze. The song sings of soft defeat but its musical accompaniment is anything but soft; it is relentless and unsettling and Flynn sings with the horror of those nights alone with nothing but the night wind calling.”
No Depression Magazine.