John Flynn

John Flynn

 Wilmington, Delaware, USA
BandFolkAmericana

John sings from the heart. His powerful songs of humanity and hope are rooted in the traditions of Woody Guthrie & Phil Ochs. John paints vivid images with words and music drawn from a palette of awareness, compassion, irony, & humor.

Biography

John Flynn sings from the heart. His powerful songs of humanity and hope are deeply rooted in the traditions of Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs. John paints vivid, lasting images with words and music, drawn from a palette of awareness, irony, humor, and compassion.

Sing Out! Magazine says, "With a poet's voice and a heart tuned to justice, John Flynn's voice and songs sing for us all."

A socially driven singer/songwriter not afraid of writing about the shadows, John allows us the space to come to our own conclusions. His songs speak to our common shared humanity. Thank-you notes left on his websites come from both soldiers and anti-war advocates.

His 8th CD, America’s Waiting, released July 14, 2009. It was recorded in Nashville and was produced by grammy-winning Steve Fishell. Some great players joined John for live tracking in the studio. Everyone is thrilled with the results and proud to be a part of the project. It has already received some great reviews and was #14 on the Roots Music Folk Charts for July.

“America's Waiting is a great album, distinguished by its courage and sincerity…. This is an important album by an important artist." -- Kris Kristofferson.

"Lyrically charged, powerful and moving music!" --Susan Hartman, editor, Dirty Linen Magazine

John’s artistic journey has taken him from Temple University, where he earned a degree in Political Science, to Nashville’s Music Row as a songwriter, to award-winning children’s recording artist and performer, to social justice activist. John is truly an American troubadour.

John has shared the stage with some of the greats of our time, Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, Kris Kristofferson, to name a few. Arlo invited John to join his Train to New Orleans tour post-Hurricane Katrina, and Kris Kristofferson has not only sung on two of John’s CDs, but has given John previously unrecorded material to use. Sonny Ochs, the sister of the late great songwriter, Phil Ochs, has made John one of the mainstays of her Phil Ochs Song Nights that tours nationally.

John walks his talk. When off the road, he leads a prison discussion group, is very involved with Camp Dreamcatcher, a safe haven for children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and is an advocate for wider understanding and treatment of PTSD suffered by our returning war veterans.

He was made a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club for notable service, gained a Shining Star Award from the Dominicans for artistry and service for his song The Passunder (New Orleans), and won a Notable Recording Award from the American Library Association for his CD, Love Takes a Whole Box of Crayons.

John’s songs have been placed in television (Joan of Arcadia) and film (Tiny Tears, Not Broken). An up-coming documentary, When Jane and Johnny Come Marching Homeless, will feature, Semper Fi (America’s Waiting), a true story of brotherly love in the face of PTSD.

He lives in Delaware with his wife, four children, and their exuberant German Shepherd.

In addition to concerts and festivals he presents special programs on songwriting and Prison Ministry. John also performs popular school assembly programs, workshops and family concerts.

John continues to tour extensively. With nothing but an old Martin D-28 and harmonica for accompaniment, his compelling songs, strong voice, and open-hearted approach to his audiences are turning strangers into believers, and believers into friends.

Lyrics

Reggie’s Question (What’s In A Name)

Written By: John Flynn

My name is addict… my name is thief
My name is gangster… my name is grief
My name is inmate… that is my shame
There's no escaping what’s in a name

My name is dealer… my name is thug
My name is hustler… violence and drugs
have been my life now… it’s called the game
Sometimes it's scary what’s in a name

My name is father, my name is son
My name was stolen a couple hundred
years ago by white men with chains
Sometimes I wonder What’s in a name

Some names I’ve taken… some I have earned
Some give me strength while others have burned
crosses and bridges with hatred’s flame
There’s no disguising what’s in a name

My name is father, my name is son
My name was stolen a couple hundred
years ago but when I complain
You shrug and ask me What’s in a name

My name is dear to those who love me
My name is fear to those who don't see
That in our hearts we are all the same
I'm only human... What's in a name

© 2007 Flying Stone Music

Passunder (New Orleans)

Written By: John Flynn

If someday we realize that God still speaks to us all
In our hearts not just through words that long dead prophets scrawled
Perhaps we’ll add a new book to the holy bible called
New Orleans, New Orleans

As in ancient Egypt when the Exodus began
when the shacks of pharaoh’s slaves were stained by blood from lambs
FEMA marked the 9th Ward houses with its spray paint cans… in
New Orleans, New Orleans

Passover … Angel of Death
Born on the wind of a hurricane’s breath
Passover… Pharaoh’s own son
Peered the from the window of Air Force One


Moses cried to Pharaoh, Pharaoh let my people go
Now poor folks clung to rooftops as the levees overflowed
Both times the waters parted but it happed awful slow …in
New Orleans, New Orleans

Moses led a chosen people cross the Sea of Reeds
Now a broken promise land lies in the mud and bleeds
For lives lost or scattered like a broken string of beads in
New Orleans New Orleans

Pass under what man has caused
As the sun bleeds and the skies turn to gauze
Past plunder … sowing the breeze
Reaping the whirlwind … down on our knees

For forty years in wilderness the Israelites did roam
Now like pyramids a former tomb called Super Dome
Stands watch for a new Moses crying Bring my people home … to
New Orleans, New Orleans

If someday we realize that God still speaks to us all
In our hearts not just through words that long dead prophets scrawled
We’ll heal this wounded city and make strong its levee walls … in
New Orleans

© 2006 Flying Stone Music

America’s Waiting

Written By: John Flynn

There’s a clock on the wall and the train on the track ...
Americas waiting

You step from the platform without looking back ’cause …
Americas waiting

A seat by the window, a ticket to ride, the silver coach lurches and then starts to glide
And lately you got a feeling inside America’s waiting for you

You learn the old rhythms as you roll along …
America’s waiting

The beat of the heartland is steady and strong…
yes, America’s waiting

The steel rails stretch out just like old guitar strings… a driving wheel bigger than God’s gold earring
strums them and you hear a continent sing that America’s waiting for you

To believe again the things we used to say
We’d believe again someday

In the tall mountain pines and the green rolling plains…
America’s waiting

In the roar of the great rivers swollen with rain…
America’s waiting

Where the red tail hawk wheels and the bald eagle soars
On the thermals that rise from the rock canyon rock floors
From the Mexican gulf to the great northern shores…America’s waiting for you

To believe again the things we used to say
We’ll believe again someday

In the sweat on the faces of people who toil…
America’s waiting

To fill empty bellies from the rows in the soil …
America’s waiting

In the songs that are sung and the prayers that are prayed
By the regular ones trying to get through the day
Where factories close and the jobs move away…America’s waiting for you

To believe again the things we used to say
We’ll believe in them someday

At the church-basement shelter, the soup kitchen door…
America’s waiting

In the eyes of the soldier just back from the war…
America’s waiting

Outside the train rolling by one by one
Towns up on blocks like old cars in the sun
These days there’s a whole lot of work to be done and America’s waiting for you

© 2007 Flying Stone Music

Electric Candles

Written By: John Flynn

Tammy works down by the mall
Sells commodes and shower stalls
At the Bathrooms-R-Us outlet store
Big Bill he don't shop there anymore
Since he got his pipes unclogged
Tammy might have married him but
He thought she was much too thin and
He thought she thought he was much too fat
Tammy never could get over that...
She swore enough...there's more to love
She keeps...

Electric candles in her window
Just like its Christmas Eve all year round she says
You make the silent nights go easy
And they won't burn you down
And they won't burn you down

Tammy lived in Buffalo up until three years ago
When she moved down to the sunshine state
She writes home that everything is great
Sends postcard scenes and tangerines
The answering machine she bought
Doesn't work the way she thought
Mostly it reminds her no one calls
Sometimes when its her sister from Saint Paul
She'll pour a drink and watch it blink
She keeps

Electric candles in her window
Just like its Christmas Eve all year round she says
You make the silent nights go easy
And they won't burn you down
And they won't burn you down

Sometimes she gets so mad at God
She waves a metal curtain rod
At the storm clouds gathering above
She says "I got a better chance
of being struck by lightning then of
ever finding someone to love"
She keeps

Electric candles in her window
Just like its Christmas Eve all year round she says
You make the silent nights go easy
And they won't burn you down
And they won't burn you down

© Flying Stone Music

No More War (Peace is the Answer)

Written By: John Flynn

Oh mothers, no more war
Oh mothers, no more war
Oh mothers, no more war
Peace is the answer

Oh fathers, no more war
Oh fathers, no more war
Oh fathers, no more war
Peace is the answer

Bridge:
Violence has left its stain
Its drug is in our veins
It screams slay or be slain
It is a liar

Oh sisters, no more war
Oh sisters, no more war
Oh sisters, no more war
Peace is the answer

Oh brothers, no more war
Oh brothers, no more war
Oh brothers, no more war
Peace is the answer

Oh children, no more war
Oh children, no more war
Oh children, no more war

Peace is the answer

© 2004 Flying Stone Music

A Manatee Sneezed On Me

Written By: John and Cole Flynn

When we were on vacation
Down in Florida last spring
My brother said go get your bathing suit
A family of manatees
Is swimming by the dock
They’re gentle and little ones are cute

My mom said it was okay
So my dad said okay too
I paddled over to them on my raft
Suddenly my head was wet with something like shampoo
I yelled out as everybody laughed


A manatee sneezed on me… a manatee sneezed on me
You might think that it’s funny
It’s not


The manatees had come to drink
Fresh water from the hose
My brother Sean was holding in his hand
A little water must have gotten up the mamma’s nose
I’d like to laugh about it but I can’t

A manatee sneezed on me…a manatee sneezed on me
Its nasal capacity’s a lot
A manatee sneezed on me…a manatee sneezed on me
You might think it’s funny
It’s not

It could’ve been worse the sneeze was clear
Yes there are worse sneezes I hear
There was a huff and then a snuff
And then she sprayed me with her stuff
There was no clue, no big ha-choo
She simply snorted and it flew
She felt so bad for what she’d done
She tried to clean me with her tongue

A manatee sneezed on me…a manatee sneezed on me

Its nasal capacity I got
A manatee sneezed on me…a manatee sneezed on me
You might think it’s funny
It’s not

I did not know just what to do
And so I hollered “God bless you!”

© Flying Stone Music 1998

Love Takes A Whole Box Of Crayons

Written By: John Flynn

I'm only four years old he said
As he climbed up on the chair
And handed me the picture he had drawn
I knew just how to color Mamma's eyes and Daddy's hair
But Mister, I still think there's something wrong
There's one color missing and I just don't know
If it's gold or green or blue or red
He said which one of my crayons is the color of true love
Well, I just looked at him and then I said...

Love is red cause it lives within the heart
Love is blue cause it's wider than the sky
Love is green cause it's deeper than the forest or the ocean
Love is white like a dove for it can fly
Love is gold cause it warms us like the sun
Love is brown like the earth, it helps us grow
Love takes a whole box of crayons to imagine
Love is the heart's rainbow

I said I've seen little baby's born
And I've seen old friends pass away
Love has made me laugh and made me cry
There ain't just one kind of love it changes everyday
And if I had to guess I'd say that's why...

Love is red cause it lives within the heart
Love is blue cause it's wider than the sky
Love is green cause it's deeper than the forest or the ocean
Love is white like a dove for it can fly
Love is gold cause it warms us like the sun
Love is brown like the earth, it helps us grow
Love takes a whole box of crayons to imagine
Love is the heart's rainbow

He said "Thank you, Mister. Thank you!"
He said, "Now I think I know
what it is that I have got to do."
He said "I'll go get my crayons
And I'll make a big rainbow
And I'll put in one color just for you... He said

Love is red cause it lives within the heart
Love is blue cause it's wider than the sky
Love is green cause it's deeper than the forest or the ocean
Love is white like a dove for it can fly
Love is gold cause it warms us like the sun
Love is brown like the earth, it helps us grow
Love takes a whole box of crayons to imagine
Love is the heart's rainbow

©1984 EMI/Screen Gems.

Semper Fi

Written By: John Flynn

Charlie found the tip of the iceberg shielded from the Florida sun
Wedged just like a misfired cartridge ... in the barrel of a large concrete gun
Charlie laid down his knife and flashlight ... crawled out of the culvert to say
This mother's son was wounded in action ... but inaction took his life away
Eric had become agitated ... reliving again and again
the IED that tore up his body ... the bomb that blew away his best friend
Men whose war was 40 years older saddled up when they heard the call
A fellow Marine had gone missing, a former corporal named Eric Hall

Semper fi ... always faithful ... Tell me why we lost track
This Marine served his country then this country turned its back

Authorities had called off the manhunt for the skinny kid with the limp
But Vietnam vets this land gave up on would not give up searching for him
They found his motorcycle abandoned out where the palm trees and terrain
looked just like the Euphrates valley ... right next to a large concrete drain

Semper fi ... always faithful ... Tell me why we lost track
This marine served his country then this country turned its back

He fought for this land and saluted ...
The same Stars and Stripes on a pole
that waved goodbye when that fight left him ...
with scars and stripes on his soul
His ashes first went to Indiana ... Brothers that he never had known
showed up from all over this country making sure Eric got home
Now he'll rest in Arlington pastures ... but the tale is still left to tell
How many who have fought for their country are living Eric's nightmare as well
Because Charlie found the tip of the iceberg ...

© Flying Stone Music/ascap

Dover

Written By: John Flynn

Elijah was a sergeant, 42 years old
from Mesa Arizona, Elijah won't grow old
Patrick was with C Troop, Second Armored Cav
His buddies all remember how Patrick loved to laugh
Seth was from East Brunswick, just a newly wed
Somewhere in New Jersey a young widow bows her head
Daniel was from Boston shipped out from Fort Bragg
His mother got back Daniel with a folded flag

Chorus:
Oh big airplane bring’em down easy
Out of the Delaware skies
Oh big airplane Dover is waiting
to welcome the fallen you fly

William was in Anbar, combat engineer
1st Marine Division, William isn't here
Alan rebuilt bridges for Battalion B
Next to cause of death they wrote the letters I E D
Gussie was a scrub nurse hailing from Fort Bliss
Gussie had a spirit this world's gonna miss
Jeremiah's son cries on his mamma's knee
There was no armor plating on his dad's humvee

Chorus Chorus:
Oh big airplane bring’em down easy
Out of the Delaware skies
Oh big airplane Dover is waiting
to welcome the fallen you fly

Scrubbed wooden pallets with white straps cinched over
Long boxes of flag draped aluminum
The C-5 is crowded when it lands in Dover
The honor guard boards and makes room again

Making straight for Nineveh, just like Jonah’s whale
Holy truth you swallow, overseas you sail
Precious is the cargo sacred was their gift
offered in a sandstorm from which your wings lift
Those who would take notice can’t watch you set down
Behind barbed wire fences miles from their town
No one breathes to question this silent parade
Except for the anguished loved ones left to say

Chorus:
Oh big airplane bring’em down easy
Out of the Delaware skies
Oh big airplane Dover is waiting
to welcome the heroes you fly home

© 2005 Flying Stone Music

Discography

AMERICA'S WAITING
(2009 John Flynn Music)
Produced by Steve Fishell
with
Eddie Perez - Guitars, backing vocals
Dave Rowe - Bass
John McTigue III - Percussion
Steve Fishell - Pedal Steel
Kim Carnes - Backing vocal on "The Passunder"

TWO WOLVES
(2006 METTA|four RECORDS)
Produced by Ben Wisch
With studio legends Duke Levine, Larry Campbell, and Denny McDermott.Kathy Mattea, Kris Kristofferson and Jane Kelly Williams provide backing vocals.
Folk DJ Choice Top 30 CDs of 2006

DRAGON
(2004 METTA|four Records)
Produced by Ben Wisch
Shawn Pelton, Duke Levine, Stephanie Winters, and Jim Gilmour in anall-star cast of musicians . Kris Kristofferson, Jane Kelly Williams, and Ben Wisch on backing vocals.
Folk DJ Choice Top 30 CDs of 2004

TO THE POINT
(Sliced Bread Records)
Recorded at "The Point" in Philadelphia
Recorded and produced by Ed Williames

JOHN FLYNN
(1997 Sliced Bread Records)
Produced by Ben Wisch
Achieved Top 15 Gavin Americana Chart nationally
Guest appearances: Larry Campbell, David Broza, Ben Wisch, Dar Williams

HAUNTED BY THE GHOST OF A CHANCE (1993)
Produced and arranged by Ed Williames and John Flynn

FROM THIS HARD BOX OF TIME
Produced and arranged by Ed Williames

A MANATEE SNEEZED ON ME
(1999 Sliced Bread Records)
Recorded and mixed by Ed Williames

LOVE TAKES A WHOLE BOX OF CRAYONS
(1995 Sliced Bread Records)
Recorded and mixed by Ed Williames
On the American Library Association's Notable Recordings for Children List for 1996

Set List

Sets are normally 50 minutes long for adult shows, 2 sets per show.

Children's shows are typically 1 - 50 minute or 2 - 30 minute sets

Most songs are originals (only rarely does he do a cover) and are chosen depending on the type of show being presented. John is a very versatile artist and can adjust his program to suit most scenarios.