The Flannery Brothers are more than a children’s band

Posted Sept. 30, 2010, at 5:20 p.m.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Flannery Brothers are much more than kid’s music. As a proud owner of their entire discography, I have played their music for the most disbelieving grown-ups I know, and even they are charmed by Dan and Mike Flannery’s silliness and enthusiasm. You’ve really got to be the most cliched of dour, humorless adults to not at least crack a smile while listening to them.

The brothers may have moved out of Maine — Dan to graduate school in Boston, Mike to new recording gigs in New York — but when they thought about where to hold their CD release party for their new album, “The New Explorers Club,” they could think of only one place: Bangor.

“We had to have it in Maine,” said Mike Flannery. “It’s all about Maine, in a lot of ways.”

“The New Explorers Club” will have a CD release party at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, at the Bangor Opera House. The Brothers will perform with honorary Flannery Brother, Portland-based drummer Jonathan Merrifield, and with the Gooby Gabba Horns. As an incentive to all Flan Fans, a special album will be available in hard copy only at the show. A full remix album of “Love Songs for Silly Things,” their first full-length album, will be offered in limited quantities at the Oct. 24 concert, though fans can also download the remixes for free on flannerybrothers.com.

“It’s pretty fun. We use auto-tune. We give the T-Pain treatment to ‘Broccoli,’” said Mike Flannery, referring to the favorite song about vegetables on the original album. “We take some excellent rap verses, too. You’ve definitely got to hear it.”

Where “Love Songs” was a collection of odes to things like pillows, rutabagas and sunglasses, “Explorers” expands to talk a little more about what it’s like to be a kid. There’s also the utterly delightful horn arrangement, courtesy of the Gooby Gabba Horns.

“It’s definitely still the Flannery Brothers, just with more production and a horn section,” said Mike Flannery. “It’s also still singing about the things that actually have an impact on our lives and relate to the lives of both children and parents. This is a little more about experience, and less about silly things, like the last record.”

Don’t worry though. While songs like “Quiet Place” and “In the Middle” deal with things like being quiet and still and getting taller, there are still plenty of fun songs about stuff everybody loves, whether you’re 6 years old or 60. The unofficial first single from the album, “Pirate or Parrot,” is accompanied by a music video filmed at last month’s Eastport Pirate Festival. You can view the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqg5A6nNq3I.

“The video cost about 75 bucks in costumes and gas money,” said Mike Flannery. “It was the cheapest music video ever. We went where the pirates were.”

The brothers had a lot of time to perform their songs both new and old, and over the course of the past year have learned a lot about what makes kids tick when it comes to music.

“We had a whole year of performances before this album, so we got to see firsthand what kids respond to,” said Dan Flannery. “We know more about what kids like, and what bores them and makes them walk away. Kids are really good critics.”

After more than two years of making music for children, Dan Flannery decided that working with kids was truly his life’s calling. He was accepted into the Eliot Pearson Program, on track to get a master’s degree in child development from Tufts University in Boston. The program, one of the best of its kind in the nation, will further enrich Flannery’s approach to creativity and childhood.

“Basically, I’m going to learn how to design books and movies and music in the best way possible to make a positive experience for a young child,” said Dan Flannery. “My underlying goal in all of this is to foster creativity in kids. Up until now, I’ve been going with my gut in my songwriting. Now, I’m understanding more about the science behind child development.”

Mike Flannery, also an accomplished producer and musician in multiple bands, has set up shop in New Jersey and New York, and will continue to produce records from all different stripes of artists. Together, however, the Flannery Brothers, along with Merrifield, still call Maine a home.

“It’ll always be home. We still rehearse in Maine on the weekends,” said Dan Flannery. “The last song on the album, ‘Best Adventures,’ is about being in Maine and going on adventures with all my friends. It’s a little love song to Maine.”

For information on the Flannery Brothers, friend them on Facebook or visit www.flannerybrothers.com.

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