Ever talk to someone who probably gets in more than a few arguments? Not because this person is aggressive or obnoxious, but because he or she is forthright about opinions that might be out of step with the locals. I get the feeling that Lorey Flinn (brother of BW political cartoonist Mike Flinn) might be that kind of guy because his latest CD, Mooncalf Promenade, takes aim at issues the average Idahoan might disagree with him about.
That's not a criticism, mind you. Flinn is a good musician and not a bad vocalist—if a little reedy—who recruited a few other fine musicians to help out, including Curtis Stigers and, on trombone, the BW's flagship curmudgeon, Bill Cope. As a result, the music is tight, and despite the limitations of the recording—it sounds like everyone was huddled around one mike in the studio—Flinn and his fellow musicians step right and lively, especially on "Two of a Kind" and "Brice Phillips (WQRZ)." When your songs generally focus on topics like Idaho's right-to-work law, intelligent design and the credit/housing crunches, it's probably good to nail the musical backing.
If there's a real criticism to be levied against Flinn, it's that lyrically, he's too on-the-nose. Granted, when you cite Vonnegut, Kundera and Stephen Kinzer as influences, it's likely there's a fire in your belly, but I prefer my points delivered sans hammer. Tracks like "Innocence Lost," about the American possession of the Philippines, take to preaching about their subject, and while the lack of subtlety is a point in and of itself, it sometimes goes too far. Still, on balance, Flinn has put together a disc that is never dull, and occasionally reaches moving, as on the thoughtful "Life Like a Sketch." If left-leaning Americana is to your taste, you'll want to give Lorey Flinn a spin.