John began writing professionally in 1980 after graduating from Temple University with a degree in political science. He intended to study law, but a brief sojourn to Nashville’s Music Row led to a change of plans. A publishing contract with Combine Music, and a Billboard Magazine Top Forty country recording of his song “Rainbows and Butterflies” by Epic recording artist, Billy Swan (“I Can Help”) convinced John to settle in Nashville and write.
Flynn’s writing, however, proved too introspective and poetic for country music. He eventually concluded that the only category he wanted his songs to fit neatly into was the one called “From the Heart”.
In the early 90’s, Flynn returned to his native Philadelphia where his first self-titled CD began to receive extensive airplay on AAA radio giant, WXPN.
Austin, TX, 2005
During these years, songs Flynn wrote for his four children became the basis of two highly acclaimed family CDs. These garnered Flynn repeat appearances on the Peabody Award-winning children’s radio program “Kid’s Corner” and the American Library Association’s Notable Recording Award. He continues to perform hugely popular assemblies and conduct creative writing workshops.
In the new millennium, John Flynn, has begun to speak and write on political and social justice issues. On Dragon (2004, MettaFour Records) he teamed with producer Ben Wisch. Dragon became one of the twenty most played albums in folk music in 2004. It continues to receive extensive international airplay. One track from the CD, “Angel Dawson,” was included in the 2005 season finale of the CBS network television show Joan of Arcadia.
John continues his journey with his newest release, Two Wolves ( 2006) MettaFour Record, produced by Ben Wisch. Here are songs of faith, songs of hope, songs that measure our tolerance for hypocrisy and our capacity for savoring the pleasures of love. With subtle metaphor and the plain poetry of common speech, with simple incantation and snapshot imagery, these songs convey essential messages, wrapped like gifts in the colors of music. Two Wolves is receiving excellent reviews. It was on several 2006 individual DJ Top 10 lists and was number thirty overall for 2006 on the Folk DJ List.
Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Arlo Guthrie invited John to join his “Train to New Orleans Tour”. Arlo says, “More than just a good song writer, performer, or guitar player, John Flynn is a friend because he actually does the kinds of things to help make the world a little better.” Profoundly affected by the city and circumstance, John wrote the searing “The Passunder (New Orleans).” It will be featured in an upcoming documentary concerning New Orleans and Katrina.
John continues to tour extensively, playing festivals, theaters, churches, coffeehouses, and house concerts. Presented simply, with an old Martin D-28 and harmonica, John’s compelling songs, strong voice and open hearted approach to his audiences are turning strangers into believers, and believers into friends.
©2006 METTA|four Records
- Two Wolves (4:56)
- There’s No Them There (Nomreu‘s Anthem) (4:34)
- Dover (4:05)
- My Father’s Chapel (3:13)
- Blink (3:12)
- Put Your Freedom Where Your Mouth Is (5:07)
- Azizulla (3:20)
- No More War (4:12)
- Pleasures of the Harbor (6:01)
- Sunflower (3:54)
- Hall of Angels (4:06)
- Trust the Rope (3:14)
Produced, Recorded, Mixed and Mastered
by Ben Wisch at Bailey Building & Loan, NYC,NY
Musicians joining John on this CD are:
Kris Kristofferson (vocals), Kathy Mattea (vocals), Jane Kelly Williams (vocals, finger snaps, hand claps, whistling), Ben Wisch (vocals, Wurlitzer, piano, harmonium), Amy Helm (vocals), Kim and Reggie Harris (vocals), Duke Levine (electric guitar, National steel guitar,electric mandolin, mandolin, lap slide), Larry Campbell (baritone electric guitar, electric guitar, banjo, violin, pedal steel, dobro, citern, acoustic guitar, mandolin), Stephanie Winters (cello), John Conte (electric bass, double bass), Denny McDermott (drums, dumbek, shaker), Marianne Osiel (oboe)
©2004 METTA|four Records
- Dragon (4:59)
- She Moves Me (4:11)
- Big Boat Comin’ (4:31)
- Minnie Lou (3:26)
- Ambush (The Death of the Myth) (3:48)
- Hey Vicente (4:56)
- Angel Dawson (4:15)
- Hope Sleeps (3:34)
- Full Circle (4:12)
- Now With My Jesus (3:18)
- Benediction (5:34)
- Only One (3:29)
Produced, Recorded, & Mixed by Ben Wisch at Bailey Building & Loan, NYC,NY
Mastered by David Glasser at Airshow Mastering, Boulder, CO
Musicians joining John on this CD are:
Kris Kristofferson (vocals), Jane Kelly Williams (vocals, flute), Ben Wisch (vocals, keyboards, melodihorn), Duke Levine ( National steel guitar, mandola, electric guitar, baritone guitar, lap slide), Stephanie Winters (cello),
Shawn Pelton (drums and drum loops), Jim Gilmour (bass),
Steve Elson (recorder, penny whistle, saxophone)