There’s a prideful appreciation for the endless planes of farmland captured in Cash and Dylan’s music that just doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Of course, the postwar period is way before my time, so who am I to speak to this lifestyle?
But having grown up trying my damndest to hit the low notes in “Ring of Fire,” from the backseat and getting to step foot in Sun Studios, it’s safe to say the iconic trendsetters of country-blues will always have a special place in my heart.
Guitar fast-picker and Birmingham, England, native Dom Glynn, has released his latest outlaw country-blues number, “Paper Crown,” from his now-home in London. Like other works of his, the single was produced by Spiritual Records. Glynn’s gritty vocals are reminiscent of Dylan’s as he dialogue sings, “I sure ain’t here to please nobody else…he ain’t got nothin’ on me,” and he certainly exhibits his frustrations and emotions throughout the bass-heavy, upbeat ditty.
We got to hear more from Glynn on his single, “Paper Crown,” how he’s been spending his time lately, and how the rest of his year is shaping up.
What’s your favorite thing about life in Birmingham?
I will always love Birmingham. It’s where I grew up, played gigs with my first band, and my family and lots of my good friends are. So, my favourite thing about it would have to be the people. In the words of the great America Philosopher-singer Tina Turner, they are ‘simply the best.’ But I left its laid-back charms for London 4 years ago.
What’s the music scene like there?
Well it was decent when I used to be gigging there, but I couldn’t say what it’s like now. Although I still do an annual show in December/January and that’s always fun. It can get a bit rowdy for an acoustic set sometimes too, lots of drinking and heckling, but it’s all good-natured. Now I’m based in Camden Town, London and there’s a great music scene at this place called Spiritual Bar. I’d been gigging there every week for a long while BC (Before Corona, not Before Christ) and it’s my favourite place to play and drink. There’s lots of cool singer-songwriters there doing their thing. Being a solo act can be lonely compared to being in a band, but the scene at Spiritual gives you that sense of togetherness you would otherwise be missing. It’s invaluable. Other than play music I am a big fan of drinking and criticizing myself and others for failing to meet impossible moral standards.
Can you talk about your latest single, “Paper Crown” and the inspiration behind that song? Is it going to be on a future EP/LP?
It is a bit of an angry song, a ‘f**k you’ song, if you will. I was annoyed by a few specific people who acted with an unearned authority in judging the music and talent of others, and they expected me to buy into it. I do not have it in me to be an insincere people-pleaser and it repulses me in others. It might cost me the odd opportunity, but it gave me this song, and nothing is more important than a song. I am sure it will end up on a future release and whilst I don’t have plans to record an album yet, I think it’ll be my focus over the next year. Single songs are great, but I want to create something fuller, with more substance to it. You can only snack on singles, but you can feast on an album.
What draws you to the music of artists like Townes, Dylan, Johnny Cash, etc.?
Well, I like the music before I know why I like it. I guess I love acoustic guitar music, storytelling lyrics and voices with character. There’s this attitude, a sort of uncompromising honesty that all those guys have in common. They are rebels and poets. And there is lots of depth in the content of what they sing about. You can tell they all really love songs, and they communicate that sort of reverence, so it rubs off on you.
With Townes, there is a lot of melancholy, a sort of hopeless beauty, but there’s also a lot of wisdom in his songs too, it’s all very light and dark. A scuba diver into the darker depths of the human soul who found some of the prettiest pearls there are. I am a huge Dylan fan. He is my favourite singer; I’ve spent lots and lots of time with that voice. And his lyrics are so good they have had me laugh aloud in awe. ‘In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes. I bargained for salvation and she gave me a lethal dose.’ Dylan is the most inspiring songwriter there is, he wrote the book, still writing it even.
And Johnny Cash is the coolest man to ever walk this earth. The 2 live albums in Folsom and San Quentin are landmarks, I love Johnny the young badass. But his later American Recordings series is phenomenal. It’s dark and heavy, it’s ballsy and holy. Johnny sings it and you believe.
Do you feel the pandemic has helped or hurt your creative process?
Well, life’s motion helps to inspire the emotions to write songs. Not a lot of that going on at the moment. But life is often uninspiring anyway, you have to use your imagination. There’s no science to writing songs, it’s a sort of mystical thing. I’m finishing a degree over the next few weeks so I can’t devote myself to my creativity. But when it’s over I’m going to play my guitar forever. I know when I play my guitar lots I always stumble on some ideas. I think the abundance of time can only be a good thing once I can get into it.
Do you have any pastimes or specific atmospheres you seek out that aides in your songwriting process, or does it happen more sporadically?
I find reading helps you write better lyrics. Steinbeck and the Bible. I don’t really write spontaneously, or I wouldn’t write much. I have a place I go to where I try to write for hours at a time, but within that time I’m pretty loose. You’ve got to have the discipline to be persistent in your effort but be free when you’re actually doing it. There’s a reason that it’s hippies more than military sergeants who write songs. You don’t put the guitar down. It’s like fishing, you just hang around with your guitar/rod and something will happen. And lots of coffee and cigarettes.
If you could open for any current artist, who would it be?
Will Varley. He’s a real hero of mine.
Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
In five years, I hope I’ve made an album or two I’m really proud of and folks love listening to. I want to be able to tour around and make a living off my music.