Born at the Boston Lying Inn sometime in the nineteen sixties, Natalie Flanagan grew up in the western suburbs listening to the local classic rock stations. She admits a weakness for Bob Seger, and songs that make you cry.
Natalie went to Zoo Mass through 1991 and after graduating, started waitressing at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA to try and meet like-minded musicians. She put a few bands together but nothing that gelled. After three years of shaky line-ups, she decided to just start booking shows and crossed her fingers that she could get musicians to play them. Some of her mainstays were Larry Dersch, Kenny Dussault, Ken Schopf, Rich Cortese and Dimitri Fane.
The unorthodox approach to gaining an audience is a testament to Natalie’s sincere desire to reach and affect them. She is interested in a story and a message. She wants people to really listen to what she’s saying. Natalie hopes that her words and music can make people feel less lonely, more understood and provoke them to speak up.
I think I became a musician so that I could write songs, keep people company, make them feel less lonesome. That’s what the songs I love do for me.
She might have a message but the song never suffers. Much like some of her influences, Natalie blends the music to compliment the meaning. Natalie is a big Stones fan. She is also drawn to the bare-bones pictorial songwriters, like Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and Joan Armatrading. She pays homage with a low-fi, lazy rock sound that puts her songs and her heart right out in the front yard. She gets up there, tells a story, and paints a picture of what she sees as the truth. The delivery is genuine, sweet and a slight touch of melancholy.
Performing her songs and engaging an audience are what keeps Natalie going up on stage. She loves playing shows with musicians she respects such as Boston favorites Mr. Airplane Man, Red Chord, Tom Leach and Emily Grogan. Her musical career has yielded more than just gigs however. Two years ago she was asked to play a despondent female musician from Allston, MA in the full length independent film Metal, directed by Alice Cox.
I got to lip-sync one of my own songs in a scene filmed at The Abbey Lounge. Jay Grimaldi played the booking agent – what a stretch for us!
Back track to 1983 and Natalie is at a Neighborhoods show at Pearl Street in Northampton MA watching Dave Minehan kick a heckler right off his stool from the stage. It makes perfect sense that years later she would have Dave “Kick ‘em Outta Their Seats.” Minehan produces and plays guitar on her Let, released November 2002. This collection of warm sounds and smoky voiced suggestions serves you vintage Natalie Flanagan. You can catch her equally compelling live sets around Boston, New England and on tour – you don’t want to miss this.