When I first heard Flynn Cohen (several years ago) he was playing backup guitar behind three stellar fiddlers who were wowing the audience with an array of fancy stuff. It wasn’t until late in the concert when Flynn did a solo set that his ability to similarly dazzle was displayed. Since that time I’ve come to admire his playing for his willingness to understate. Or perhaps another way of saying that is that Flynn doesn’t play a note unless it needs to be played.
His latest solo album, Fierce Modal, is a daring effort consisting of entirely original instrumentals. It opens with a gentle meditation he calls “End of an Era”, which gave me an image of a pool of water, glimmering in sunlight, but seemingly standing still. Then you realize that the water is moving – not very fast, and not very far, but in a very logical way.