When Delaware recording artist John Flynn performs for the Harmony on the Hill Music Series on June 27 at the Friends Meeting House, 4th & West, Wilmington, DE, he will not only be introducing his new CD, Poor Man’s Diamonds, he also will be raising money to provide help for ex-offenders: men and women leaving prison and striving to become productive members of society.
The 7 p.m. CD release concert will benefit New Beginnings–Next Step, a transitional support group for ex-offenders that Flynn helped to re-start in 2012. Next Step is dedicated to the idea that ex-offenders need community as much as they need jobs! The road on leaving prison is rarely easy. Next Step meetings provide a safe non-judgmental environment to share its trials, setbacks and temptations. Its members, consisting of caring, committed volunteers and ex-offender group leaders, also allow transitioning men and women to be with others who can appreciate and celebrate the small –and large– victories that are so important to building a new life!
Additionally, Next Step seeks to provide ex-offenders with vital provisions such as bus passes, food vouchers, and –budget allowing– short-term emergency shelter or special needs items like computers, clothing, or furniture.
Flynn’s involvement with Next Step stems from over ten years volunteering in Gander Hill Prison (aka. Howard R. Young Correctional Institution) where he runs a similar type of group called New Beginnings, for men inside the prison. In fact, it was New Beginnings group members who were about to be released from prison who urged Flynn to find a way continue the group’s work outside of the prison setting
Tracy Green, who was recently shot and killed while being robbed on 24th Street in Wilmington, was one of Next Step’s standout ex-offender volunteer leaders. Tracy was a great example of a man who had truly turned his life around. He used his experience to help others as he made many new friends, excelled while holding down several jobs, went to junior college and helped to raise his young son.
John Flynn met Tracy Green in prison and will tell you that knowing and working with men like Tracy has changed his life for the better. Over the years, several songs on Flynn’s CDs have been inspired by his long-time work with offenders, and the new album, Poor Man’s Diamonds, is no exception. It includes a song called The Christmas Concert about a holiday performance Flynn had been invited to witness (and participate in) in the prison chapel. In the song Flynn describes how he witnessed captive men become free, if only for a few minutes, by the power of faith and music.
Other songs on the new CD deal with subjects just as real and affecting. In fact the phrase”Poor Man’s Diamonds” refers to tears Flynn wept at his own mother’s grave, and is broadened as the album’s title to stand for things that everyday people care about: family, friends, faith, and work. Flynn also includes songs of heroes like Woody Guthrie and Malala Yousafzai, along with his lyrics of singular craft, filled with irony, humor, hope, and justice.
The music on ”Poor Man’s Diamonds”, produced by Philadelphia’s own Harvey, is a rich blend of folk, country rock, celtic, gospel and blues. Tracks feature guest legends like Kris Kristofferson, David Amram, and Steve Fishell.
Preliminary reactions to the CD have been wonderful and ”Poor Man’s Diamonds” has already been named “CD of the Week” by Chicago’s venerated folk broadcast, The Midnight Special!
The benefit concert will take place at the Friends Meetinghouse, 4th & West, Wilmington, DE. For ticket information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.harmonyonthehill.org/#!events/ct1b