The CD

01. If I Only Knew
02. Cincinnati
03. She Ain’t Mine (But She Should Be)
04. Sleeping In
05. Does it Matter *
06. Didn’t Feel It Coming
07. I Don’t Want To Go Home Anymore
08. Now She’s Gone
09. I Just Want Her Off My Mind
10. I Think About That Train
11. Maybe It’s True

All songs by Tom Flannery
except * by Tom Flannery and Joseph Wegleski

copyright 2012 (BMI)

recorded over 4 nights during the winter and spring of 2012
at Sound Investments, Old Forge, PA
Produced and Mixed by Joseph Wegleski
Mastered by Tom Borthwick

Here’s what I wrote. A little essay. Liner notes for a day and age where there is no such thing anymore. A guide for the songs. A road map….if only to prove that what follows is not just a raging mid-life crisis. I like to think of myself as a story-teller, even with a guitar in my hand or a piano within reach.

I’m not a teen anymore but I still feel like one. In high school I spent my time not being popular by listening to “Quadrophenia” in my room and playing air guitar in front of a mirror with a tennis racket. I spent more time gazing at the iconic Rolling Stone cover shot of Pete Townshend cradling his sad face with blood soaked fingers than I ever did studying, which at least meant I had my priorities straight. Not that others would agree but I wasn’t asking anybody at the time. And I’m still not.

I started playing the guitar because I wasn’t good at anything else and figured it was worth a try. And since I decided to figure it out on my own there were no coaches yelling at me. Girls were a motivation of course, as they seemed to talk more to real guitar players than the ones who mimed behind closed doors with tennis rackets. I didn’t understand girls then and I claim no special insight now….but once I learned an A and D chord I no longer felt like throwing up when a pretty cheerleader ignored me. So in a way learning “Magic Bus” was an important to me as a lawyer figuring out how to divide by three. The first time I played hard enough for my fingers to bleed I wanted to brag to someone but didn’t know who. That’s one of the drawbacks of introspection. And being socially backwards.

As a guitarist I never got as good as I wanted but I got good enough to start writing songs and I’ve never really stopped. Recently I started playing the piano, with the same results. Maybe half the songs on “Teen Angst and the Green Flannel” were written on the piano, and all of them attempted to channel the spirit of Townshend’s “Jimmy” from Quadrophenia. I never aimed to tell a coherent story, which worked out well because songs from the point of view of a 17 year old boy are apt to be incoherent by rule. If you doubt me listen to “Quadrophenia” again. It tells a “narrative” only because you’ve been told that it did. It didn’t really. It’s a messy hodge-podge of teen angst told from a British perspective, and it jumps around like a kid on all sorts of pills. Townshend could write great songs but he couldn’t sculpt a plot if his big nose depended on it. I found this quite endearing.

These songs are from an American perspective, obviously. The northeast quadrant of Pennsylvania to be precise. And updated to whatever it is we call the 2010’s. Kids face pretty much the same shit no matter what decade we’re in. The only real difference is the clothes they’re trying to afford and the music they’re listening to.

The Shillelaghs play the shit out of these songs. No mean feat considering I was often writing in the studio parking lot and then re-writing while in the studio vocal booth. It’s hard to pin down what something feels like when you know you’re gonna have to live with your decision eventually. The best records are like that, which is why they’re so liberating. And dangerous. And goddamn fun.

–Tom Flannery


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