Penny Flanagan is an Australian singer songwriter who has received much critical acclaim for the quality of her songwriting and the strength of her live performances. Variously compared to Neil Finn and Joni Mitchell she has built a devoted local following that has allowed her to record and sell her music independently with wide success.
Penny started her professional music career at 19, as one half of a much-loved folk-acoustic pop duo, called Club Hoy (two girls with acoustic guitars.) The focus was on female harmonies, strong melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Club Hoy released three EPs and one album and fast became Australia’s most widely lauded, 'next big things,’ consistently playing to sold out audience all over the country. After three intense, successful years, Club Hoy split up and Penny continued recording and performing on her own.
In 1994, after building successfully on Club Hoy’s fan base through strong live performances, Penny released her debut album Bravado through major label, Regular/Festival which charted in the Australian Top 100 at 68. The first single, “Lap it Up,” became a turntable hit on the national independent radio network JJJ and was included in that year’s Hottest 100 compilation, appearing alongside singles by international acts such as Pearl Jam, Counting Crows and The Cranberries.
In 1996 Penny extricated herself from her major label deal and began to release her music independently, creating her own label, Penny Dreadful Records. Her first independent release, an acoustic live recording, 'Seven Flights Up,’ was compared favourably to Joni Mitchell. Penny has continued to tour and sell her music independently ever since.
In 1999, Penny recorded and released her strongest batch of songs yet, “Light Sleeper.” It received glowing reviews in both the February and June editions of Australian Rolling Stone, (the most incandescent of which appears in full below) and sold enough copies to recoup costs and beyond. The album was produced by Tim Powles, (The Church) and features a duet with Steve Kilbey, ('Into the Sun.’)
Originally distributed by Fido music into stores around Australia, 'Light Sleeper,’ is no longer available at retail. However, Penny continues to receive mail orders and email requests from potential fans all around the world. Which is why she has now decided to distribute it digitally through CD Baby.
If you like Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, Shawn Colvin, Neil Finn and Ani Difranco, and you’re looking for a new CD to play on a slow, dreamy Sunday morning, give Light Sleeper a try.
If you’re still unsure, here’s what the Australian press said about it when it was first released:
“Here is fine pop where the hooks break through to pull along in a manner ethereal.” Telemirror, 18/3/1999
“Flanagan’s sly arrangements and natural melodies are soaked in Neil Finn’s influence... A mature and intelligent release from a genuine talent, deserving of wider success.” Rolling Stone, February 1999
Full Review from Rolling Stone, June 1999
"Alienation and insomnia in 11 songs with attitude and hummable tunes.