Pat Flynn- What He’s Up To Now

Remember Acoustic Guitarist Pat Flynn?

New Grass Revival, “Best Acoustic Guitarist” 5 years in a row in in the 80′s in Frets magazine. But with all the accolades this great guitarist has had which also includes some extensive Nashville session work and song writing credits such as  “Do What You Gotta Do” that was also recorded by Garth Brooks, Pat Flynn these days is not shall we say “making the waves” he once used to in the music industry.

Pat FlynnDoes this upset Pat?

Here’s an article that I found at the Tennessean with an interview about his career and what he’s up to now.

“I’m fighting a lot of things,” he says, peacefully, over coffee in the 12South neighborhood. “There’s, ‘I know Pat, he’s that guitar player.’ Or ‘He wrote that song for Garth.’ Or ‘He was in New Grass Revival.’ And that’s great, you know, but that was 25 years ago. You want people to know you for what you do, not just what you did. There’s a dark side to perception: ‘Hey, you were great in ‘Cheers,’ man.’ ”

To be clear, Flynn was never in “Cheers,” though he’d have made a good conversational foil for John Ratzenberger’s Cliff Clavin character. But Flynn has done plenty of other things that people are apt to talk about.

As principal songwriter, guitar ace and frequent lead singer of New Grass Revival, he and bandmates John Cowan, Sam Bush and Bela Fleck expanded the possibilities of bluegrass music and brought an expansive acoustic sound into the 1980s mainstream. He also wrote “Do What You Gotta Do,” a song first recorded by New Grass Revival that reached the Top 20 of the country charts when Garth Brooks recorded it.

What else? He was voted “Best Acoustic Guitarist” for five consecutive years in the 1980s by Frets magazine. And he played guitar on more than 400 projects, including 32 gold and platinum records and Grammy-winners from Randy Travis to Lee Ann Womack and others. And he has produced acclaimed works for Michael Martin Murphey (the Grammy-nominated “Buckaroo Bluegrass”), Cadillac Sky and a bunch of others.

Flynn is happy about all that. He doesn’t disavow it. It pleases him. Except when he’s putting out new music and people say things like, “Oh, you were great in …” and “I used to love it when you …” or “When is New Grass Revival getting back together?”

Over the past decade, Flynn has released three solo albums, “reQuest,” “reVision” and the new “reNew.”

“If I don’t get to do anything else … if a truck hits me tomorrow, there’s a trilogy of records here that I’m very satisfied to leave here,” he says. “I know that with groups you love, sometimes it’s tough to be excited about the individual strains as you are about the group.” ”  more Pat Flynn interview here

How many of you would take Pat’s career on guitar??? Raise your hands!
I’m betting that most of us would.

But I want to share with you a few of my observations about players/artists that really made it to the major spotlight, and then faded off so to speak. I’ve been in bands with these people and for the most part, these artists look at their “out of the spotlight” as a tragedy.  Don’t get me wrong, like Pat Flynn, they’re happy about what they’ve achieved, but it’s always what happens now that counts to guys that lived at the top of the musical food chain.

Imagine being a sideman with an artist that made it big in Country Music… had his run and then lost his popularity but was still out there trying to do what it was he did way back when. I will tell you it was not fun riding on that bus. We would have to watch videos of the early years while traveling to some beat Country Gig where the audience was more interested in dancing to the new country and rap music in between the sets than watching his.  And those old videos… it was like watching Greta Garbo movies with the old Greta.

Some artists of course had a comeback.. take for example Johnny Cash. Back in the 90′s, Johnny’s career was on the slide and was having trouble even booking shows. At a gig at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park New Jersey which  was recorded that night, my former partner who would turn out as the co-producer of that album “Johnny Cash The Great Lost Performance” told me that Johnny couldn’t at that time even buy a major record deal. But as we know, a fortuitous string of events happened that led to his association with Rick Ruben along with a sting of great albums and of course, a major comeback that resonated with younger people.

Perhaps an exception to the rule?

maybe… But I have a feeling that a similar happy story will happen for Pat Flynn- maybe not as grandiose as Johnny’s but you decide… … Check out a few cuts from his latest CD “ReNew”