SongaWeek.com, the music of Tom Flannery and Lorne Clarke: "Songs ripped from the headlines...and more!"
Lorne Clarke is a Canadian singer - songwriter currently based in the USA. Raised in Canada's far north, he has been performing at festivals, clubs, house concerts and theatres across Canada and the United States for more than 35 years.
A powerful singer and gifted songwriter, he joined forces with American singer-song writer, Tom Flannery in 2003 - - forming the unique web based publishing effort called, Song-A-Week where the two artists continue to release a new, original song each week.
Tom Flannery is an acclaimed singer/songwriter and playwright from Northeastern Pennsylvania. Always an incredibly prolific writer, he now uses his website Songaweek.com to feature all his new material...for free (donations are gladly accepted).
From the site, in a little over 2 years, his songs have been downloaded well over 175,000 times. Folk radio broadcasters from around the world frequently raid his posted (and timely) performances for their respective shows. In late November of 2003, Tom's song "I Wish I Had a Job Like Garrison Keillor's" was featured on the Prairie Home Companion web site -- and was downloaded over 1000 times in a week.
He has released 3 "official" CD's, including 1998's Song About a Train, a searing collection of songs that has been called "heartfelt and brilliant" and a CD that "puts itself among the other great poetic works of our generation." The year 2000 saw the release of the long awaited The Anthracite Shuffle, Flannery's musical tribute to his anthracite coal mining heritage that All Music Guide called a "stunning song cycle." In March of 2002 Tom released his first solo acoustic album, the remarkable Drinking with Nick Drake This batch of songs was called the best set of lyrics Flannery had ever written, and promised to bring even more acclaim to the unassuming songwriter.
Why publish and distribute their songs for free at http://www.songaweek.com|?
They answer, in their own words...
"The simplest answer is...'why not'. We've both been writing songs for a long time. We've both played countless live shows....recorded official CDs, done radio and TV interviews...all the things we're supposed to do in this 'business.'
Despite our 'success' as live performers, neither of us has generated any significant profit over the last 10 years.
You see, in case you haven't noticed, if you're not named Arlo, there's not much money in the folk music world. Once a singer-songwriter faces that fact, a strange calm comes over him....the type of calm that leads him to do strange things. Like give his music away for free on the internet.....for instance.
We're both convinced that the future of music is digital. Not CDs, which hardly anybody we know actually buys anymore. They're expensive. They are inconvenient. And most of all, nearly all of them suck really really bad.
Lets face it....people still love music. And since nobody in the USA has a job, (unless they work for Haliburton, The 700 Club, or the military...) people aren't too crazy about paying $20 for 2 good songs and an hour of filler...especially when they can probably download the 2 good songs from somewhere.....for free.
Is it all nice and legal like? No. But lying to congress to go to war isn't legal either. Is it reality? Yes. It's time for folkies like us to wake up and smell the anonymity. It's not our fault. It's just the way the game is played.
Of course all this started with an epiphany. One night we were recording at a local public radio station, and in the corner of the studio were bins....stacked on top of each other. Curious, we peeked inside. They were filled with CDs. Unopened CDs. Not hundreds. Thousands! (we didn't have the guts to ask the guy at the studio if ours were in there) When the producer saw our faces cloud over he did say..."yea, it's a shame. There's probably some good stuff in there, but I get about 60 a week. I have no time to listen to 99% of them, so we put 'em in the bins and give them away during pledge week. Or try to anyway."
So here's a note to aspiring folkies releasing independent CDs: You may be brilliant, but your CD's are probably in a bin somewhere collecting dust. And if you ordered a run of 1000....500 of them are probably still in your house, and the other 50 went to your Mom and her friends and your buddies at the bar.
It's not going to work this way. It's just not. None of us are going to be famous. And none of us are going to be rich. So stop it. Stop writing good songs and hoarding them for that day when Keith Urban comes calling. He's not going to come. He's busy being rich. If you write a song, let people hear it. It's no good to anybody in your drawer.
What we offer is truly an alternative, and no matter how many of our peers (who are also broke) call us crazy for giving the songs away, we're gonna keep doing it until we run out of money. Wait a minute.....that's now. Oh well.....
tf | lc
Tom Flannery - Lorne Clarke