Local singer-songwriter Ray Flanagan
launched Ray Flanagan & the Authorities in late 2012. Though the group has gone through different incarnations, the guys have been going strong ever since — last year’s A Hard Shell to Break
established Flanagan and Co. as one of the better indie rock acts on the local circuit.
Last month, Flanagan & the Authorities issued a new single, “Plants by the Water,” a tender ballad about how the Dakota Access Pipeline represents “disrespect and disregard for morality, culture, and humanity.” Proceeds from the song’s sale will benefit the Standing Rock DAPL fund.
Flanagan says the song came together quickly over the period of a week he spent learning about the situation.
“I started going back and researching it and went down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out the history of the whole thing,” he says. “I wanted to see what the treaty [with the Sioux Indians] that was being violated. It’s the same thing that’s been happening for a couple of hundred years. I was bummed out for a whole week while I was writing it.”
Flanagan says he worked hard to produce the compelling imagery in the lyrics. A day or two later, he recorded the song. Recorded and mixed by David Alan Shaw at Tungsten AV, the album was mastered by Adam Boose at Cauliflower Audio. Local singer-songwriter Roger Hoover's Hoover Design Co. did the artwork.
“I’m proud and impressed by our community — they all jumped on board and made it happen,” Flanagan says. “It was great.”
To celebrate its release, Flanagan & the Authorties perform at 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, at the Happy Dog
. Also on the bill are Daniel Rylander
, who just released the new single "White Elephant," and Gretchen Pleuss
, who recently issued the LP From Birth, To Breath, To Bone
“The Happy Dog is my favorite place to play,” says Flanagan. “I’m excited about the bill. Daniel is a great songwriter and Gretchen Pleuss is great too. One of the goals of this show that the three of us agree on is to try and start blurring the lines between the Akron and Cleveland scenes a little more. Gretchen writes these poetic, at times socially conscious songs. She treats melody and harmony differently and her guitar playing is special. I couldn’t be more excited about the bill even though we probably don’t all belong on the bill because genre-wise it’s all over the place. But we’re all song-minded even though they’re different types of songs.”
The show will also represent the official debut of a new lineup for the Authorities.