This is another album to beat anyone who says “there’s no good music any more” over the head with, before administering a blow to the temples. True, Finlin is a veteran performer who has a decent fan base but not his own Wikipedia page; he’s probably one of those people whose fans can’t believe he’s not more famous, thus he’s new to us, and the UK.
Finlin is a cross between Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, though he sounds like himself more than anyone. Fans of acts from Marc Cohn to even The Waterboys will find much to like.
Lyrically, he veers towards the enigmatically poetic: “Holding darkness up to the light / The other side shows through / The raven’s song it breaks the night / And I rise from me through broken hues” (Sugar Blue) for example or “What’s a boy to do / When he’s found the bitter truth” in Rosy Crucifixion By The Sea.
Musically the sound ranges from the acoustic folk and rather gravelly vocals in Dylan mode to more uptempo songs such as Goodtime, Big Love Song and Jesus Was A Motorcycle Man, which could be Tom Petty driving tunes.
Other songs have more feeling, such as the emotive Postcard From Topeka. The music varies because Life After Death is a “best of” type album — the type that gets launched in the UK when someone wants to crack the market — so it features 20 (20! Value for money!) showcase tracks for new audiences, spanning his back catalogue.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, the grandson of Irish railroad workers, Finlin spent some time travelling America using every form of transportation, “with the exception of tuk tuk” before turning to music. His song Sugar Blue was in Cameron Crowe’s film Elizabethtown alongside the likes of Petty, Lyndsey Buckingham and My Morning Jacket.
Finlin also does yoga and writes poetry.
Fans of Americana and folk should check this out.