The pandemic changed his mind about that, and this week, he’ll release a new three-song EP, Our Year in Purgatory
. Tomorrow, the EP will be on all major streaming platforms, including Bandcamp
, which gives artists 100 percent from whatever they sell during the 24-hour period of the first Friday of each month, something the web site put in place to help artists during the pandemic.
“I don’t generally like to wear all the hats,” says Flanagan, who served as his own recording engineer on the EP, which commences with the semi-acoustic, Nick Drake-like ballad "Quarantine Song #3." “I’m a guitarist, singer, and songwriter. I generally like to get the person who’s good at the thing to do the thing. Due to losing nearly all my gigs this year, I’ve had to invest in gear in order to play some virtual events and do some remote session work.”
Flanagan wrote the EP's three songs near the beginning of the bar and restaurant shutdown, and each tune addresses "different feelings about the experience of having an entire year 'flipped on its head,'" as Flanagan puts it. They were recorded and produced solely by Flanagan in his bedroom during two days last month. Highlights include "In the Days to Come," a rootsy, optimistic rocker, and the twangy, Tom Petty-like "To the Way It Was."
“I think if it’s ever going to make sense for me to make homemade records, it’s right now when I’m stuck at home,” says Flanagan. “It’s a true reflection of where I’m at and what I’m doing, which is basically watching a lot of movies and trying not to hit the wine too hard.”
Flanagan also took on graphic design responsibilities as well.
“I am an amateur at anything that isn’t music, but I have spent time observing professional friends and colleagues, and I have passion, which counts for something," he says. "Really, I’m just enjoying making art, but I think creating all aspects of it on my own speaks to the fact I don’t have a team around me. I feel good about it though. I think I captured the true vibe of these tunes, and the cover photo is only a slight exaggeration of how cluttered my living quarters are.”
Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
Local singer-songwriter Ray Flanagan, a guy who loves working in professional studios, never imagined he’d release an album he recorded in his living room.