Tim Flannery & the Lunatic Fringe
October 5 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Tim Flannery and the Lunatic Fringe — The Light (Whalebone Records)
When Tim Flannery and the Lunatic Fringe sing and play The Light, it’s the light of the only moment we have to be alive, to give, to serve spirit. The Light is the living soundtrack of how fleeting and beautiful that moment is. Songs of celebration and renewal are filled with fierce love even as friends pass away, ghost towns empty, and inner demons tempt. The Light illuminates Tim’s service to the Love Harder Project—the anti-violence nonprofit organization he founded in 2011—to which he donates all his musical proceeds. It brightens the seeker’s highway he’s traveled for decades, making fourteen albums along the way.
The Light is edgier than the band’s music once was, reflecting a harder world. Its electric Americana has a harder core that only keeps traces of Tim’s bluegrass, country and folk roots from California, Ireland and Kentucky. The Light is intense—exactly the type of light needed to drive out deepening darkness.
“The absence of light is necessary,” says Jason Mraz, in whose San Diego studio The Light was recorded, under the guiding hand of producer and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Berkley. But transforming darkness is necessary too; and The Light transforms pain into love.
“Ashes to Ashes” begins the album and the band’s live shows with a song of seeking the grace it’s difficult to feel worthy to receive. It’s a highway quest born of the pain of friends passing too young, including ones who were key in Tim’s younger life as a Major League Baseball infielder and three-time World Series Champion as third-base coach of the San Francisco Giants. It’s the humbling wisdom of acceptance and letting go: “Trust what you’re given/Leave what you must/When it’s all said and over/We’re just ashes and dust.”
“Ghost Town” reflects the healing of a loved one’s addictions, leaving old habits and streets behind for better new ground. It’s new life beyond old troubles, growth from within the ashes of a burned heart. It’s another song of breaking away clean, while there’s still time.
“Running Out of Tomorrows” reflects a tough true story of time’s disappearance—that of a Vietnam veteran in Redding, California, who always came to the band’s shows there. Dying of cancer, he chose to give Tim and his bandmates his guitars, so that the music in them could continue to live—including a guitar made especially for a woman who then broke his heart. Those guitars are played on the song, completing the gift.
Other songs and stories fly by like the road out the driver’s window. They’re songs the band has focused on live, from originals like “The Light” itself to the Mark Knopfler/Emmylou Harris classic “All the Roadrunning,” and a cover of Willie Nelson’s “Hands on the Wheel,” which Tim and his friend Jerry Jeff Walker played together upon meeting.
The Lunatic Fringe has been anchored by the same ace players for decades. As well as Jeff Berkley, the core includes guitarists Doug Pettibone (who also performs with John Mayer, Lucinda Williams and others) and Shawn Rohlf; Dennis Caplinger on fiddle and banjo; Eve Selis on vocals; and Sharon Whyte on accordion and organ. Newly on the Fringe is Australian drummer Christopher Grant, whose presence allows Jeff Berkley to be more flexible in live performance in moving from percussion to guitar. Together, all bring The Light into being, asking us to join in loving harder in the face of hate; in being the light we wish others to reflect.
Contact: Love Harder Project, P.O. Box 234272, Encinitas, CA 92023-4272
firstname.lastname@example.org, www.timflannery.com, www.loveharderproject.org