Applause Performances: Brent Kirby and Ray Flanagan

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Like all of us, Brent Kirby and Ray Flanagan are stuck at home.

But they're writing music about it.

For the April edition of Applause Performances, the two singer-songwriters joined host Dan Polletta to debut new songs produced during the stay-at-home order.

When Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued that stay-at-home order for the state, Applause Performances was canceled for the month of March and the series was put on a temporary hold.

In an effort to bring the performance series back, ideastream reached out to Kirby and Flanagan to explore possibilities.

Ray Flanagan and Brent Kirby [Brent Kirby]

Both musicians are respected in the Northeast Ohio music community and prolific songwriters.

They also have a history of performing with each other at area venues like Brother's Lounge, Forest City Brewery and the Winchester Tavern.

The view from the home desk of ideastream producer Jean-Marie Papoi who directed the broadcast. [ideastream / Jean-Marie Papoi]

After four weeks of coordination between the two musicians and ideastream staff, Applause Performances returns for the month of April with the hope of continuing in the months ahead in this new virtual format.

ideastream's Dan Polletta hosted the program from his home in Cleveland Heights while Kirby performed from his Cleveland Heights home and Flanagan from his Lakewood residence.

Ray Flanagan, Brent Kirby and Dan Polletta [Jean-Marie Papoi / ideastream]

Each musician played songs solo during the broadcast in addition to sharing two pre-recorded duets of brand new songs.

Flanagan's song, “Lay Down,” is about the realization of gigs lost due to the shutdown and the importance of social distancing.

“I was lying in bed and a bird flew into my window. It sang the chorus to me and the rest is history. There is a balance to relaxing and not moving so fast all the time, and dually taking current events seriously," Flanagan said.

[Drawing by Mira Kirby]

Meanwhile Kirby penned "With this Time" after his initial meeting with ideastream staff.

“I went away from that meeting and started writing, wrestling with a bunch of ideas and went to bed frustrated. I woke up the next morning and the song just poured out like my morning coffee. I think it accurately represents how I feel about where we are right now, being at home with my family, playing music, working in my garden,” Kirby said.

Kirby and Flanagan have now released their songs as an EP called "Down Time."

 

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