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Trust the Rope
with Boulder story intro.

Recorded at the Old Town School of Music in Chicago, IL


“John Flynn’s songwriting carries a wide open heart –
they are both fierce and tender.  Think Cat Stevens...
with a bit more folk rock and edge.”  

– Mary Sue Twohy, SiriusXM

Sellersville Theater with Harvey... Thanks to all who came out for our annual holiday benefit for Camp Dreamcatcher!

January 3, 2018

Happy New Year Friends!

I went over to the Brandywine YMCA to swim some laps this morning (you can only run so far when its 8 degrees outside) and I noticed a sign on the wall that read “Be Awesome Today!” It occurred to me that better advice might actually be “SEE Awesome Today!”

I know lots of stuff sucks in our country these days. (I think I'm safe with this statement no matter which side of the political spectrum you call home!) I've shared quite a few songs documenting my personal takes on much of what transpired in 2017. But despite the disagreeable trolls, bots and seemingly ceaseless fusilade of outrageous, often alarming  tweets and soul-concussing news, I am more and more knocked out by the spirit of the people I see around me each and every day.

As Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and author of “Tatoos on the Heart” points out, we should stand in awe that the poor and marginalized manage to carry the burdens they do, rather than stand in judgment of how they carry them. This is a lesson brought home again and again in my work with New Beginnings and New Beginning-Next Step.

Just a small illustration. Elliott* (*not real name), a long time member of our Gander Hill Prison group, is being transferred to another facility this week. In his final session with New Beginnings he looked across the circle at a man named Claude* who'd only been attending our meetings for a few months. Claude had come to us with more than the normal share of inmate challenges (and I remember wondering if we'd be able to help him much) but week by week, we'd seen him grow in confidence and self awareness. He was visibly buoyed by the trust and affection he experienced in group, and instead of continuing to be held captive by a long list of anxieties about the future, Claude had begun to “eat the elephant one bite at a time'”, breaking down big, seemingly insurmountable problems into smaller, more manageable portions. Each week, Claude would confide in the group, discussing troubling issues, weighing advice, and ultimately making simple, reasonable decisions. As a result of this Claude was seeing, maybe be for the first time in his life, some things starting to turn around and go his way. He was experiencing what psychologists call agency; the realization that he had the power to affect his own life in positive productive ways.

Elliott addressed Claude saying, “Brother, before I leave here I want you to know how proud I am of you, and how far I've watched you come in a short time. I know you have many doubts about yourself, but I've been privileged to see you grow so much!” At this point Elliott unstrapped a large rugged black digital watch from his wrist. (Being paid 32 cents an hour, if they're fortunate enough to have jobs, very few inmates can save enough money to purchase watches from the prison commissary.) Elliott presented the watch to Claude and said, “I want you to have this. You told me once how much you admired it. So please accept it as a gift from me, and every time you look at it, remember how much I believe in you". Claude's eyes brimmed with tears as he struggled to find and give voice to words of the most profound gratitude you can imagine. Other guys in the group saw him losing the fight for composure and said, "It's ok, man... tears are ok.... let 'em come.” They did. (I personally hadn’t waited for permission.)

In a place where men have next to nothing, I witnessed one of the most beautiful acts of kindness I've ever seen.

So bring on the nightly news, I can handle it! I saw a hell of a lot of awesome today! 

I'll be in New York this month for a few shows:

Friday, January 12, I'll be at 6 On The Square in Oxford, NY.

Saturday, January 13, I'll be with my good friend Reggie Harris at Walkabout Clearwater Coffeehouse in White Plains, NY.

And Sunday, January 14, I'll be doing a 4PM show at the Public Library in Middleburgh, NY. My dear pal Sonny Ochs will be hosting this show.

Stay warm and keep your heart and spirit!



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(c) Flying Stone Music


“John Flynn’s songwriting carries a wide open heart – they are both fierce and tender.  Think Cat Stevens … with a bit more folk rock and edge.”  
– Mary Sue Twohy, SiriusXM

New Beginnings-Next Step member Curtis Reed receives a standing ovation after addressing the audience about the program at this year’s benefit concert

November, 2017

Hi Friends,

Hope this note finds you all well!

A few upcoming shows I wanted to put on your radar…

Thursday, November 16th I’ll be back in Sykesville MD at Baldwins Station (

And Wednesday December 13th will be my 21st Annual Holiday Benefit Concert for Camp Dreamcatcher, a therapeutic summer camp for kids dealing with HIV/Aids. The show will take place at the Sellersville Theater and will feature friends and special guests Lizanne Knott, Michael Braunfeld, and Harvey (In the Morning). (

I’ll be back in New York for some shows in January and performing an official showcase at the International Folk Alliance Convention in Kansas City in February. Look for info on my web site. (

My little west coast tour last month was a blast.  Beth and I had a great time connecting with old friends and – since more and more of my days have been getting taken up with my guys here in Delaware -- I really enjoyed getting out and doing some back to back shows. (By the third night I wasn’t even forgetting the lyrics to my songs!)

Before heading home, Beth and I took a little side trip out to Joshua Tree and got to do some hiking in the desert--

Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park

Cap Rock, Joshua Tree National Park

In other news…  I’m proud to announce that I have assembled the inaugural Board of Directors for New Beginnings-Next Step, Inc. I’m very grateful that these amazing, talented and caring folks have agreed to have my back as we move forward in growing our work both inside and outside of Delaware’s prisons. Stay tuned, ‘cause something tells me this is only the beginning!

Our Board Of Directors is:

Frank Hoffmann
Hoffmann & Associates
Former New Beginnings volunteer

Robert Fox
Adjunct Professor of Taxation, 
Wilmington College

Glenn Pfeil
President ,
21st-Century Insurance

Cathy Weaver
Senior Vice President for Mission Integration,
Mercy Healthcare System

Sandy Stefanowicz
Professional Development Coordinator/ Acting Teacher/ Career Consultant,
Voice Box LLC.
New Beginnings and Next Step volunteer

Ashley Biden
Executive Director,
Delaware Center for Justice

I’ll keep you updated on all the exciting goings on in the coming months. Thanks for your continued support of my music and my work!




John Flynn

John Flynn

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She Persisted
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