Local Tracks: Minturn indie-folk artist seeks to strike a chord
October 12, 2016
Jean Larie Flaherty learned to the play the guitar when she was 18. Ten years ago, in her 50s, she started writing music. By now, she has released two albums, "Long Stretch of Road" in 2013 and "A Little of This, A Little of That" in May of this year.
"I'm a late bloomer, I guess," Flaherty said, laughing off her late entry into music.
Flaherty, a Minturn-based indie-folk artist moved to the Vail Valley in 1974 from Southwest Nebraska. Her motto and motivation then was John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High." She also enjoyed music by '70s bands and musicians such as Led Zepplin, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix and Guess Who.
For a long time, when she did play, she would cover work of those and other musicians. She can still play "Lying Eyes" by The Eagles, "Tangled Up in Blue" by Dylan and "In My Life" by The Beatles all by heart.
Becoming a songwriter
However, about 10 years ago, she found the urge to start writing her own music.
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"I had all kinds of jobs, doing sales and things like that," Flaherty said. "But it wasn't until I jumped in and started writing music and playing music that I finally felt like I was doing what was right for me."
Perhaps she finds such fulfillment in her music because her music is a product of life's happenings around her. Flaherty's most recent album, for instance, was inspired by a simple conversation with her daughter.
"We were talking and jumping from thing to thing," Flaherty said. "We talked a lot about changes — work changes, life changes. That is how it all started coming together."
Other songs on her album were created by moments, some big, some small. For instance, her song "Mighty Lion" was inspired by Minturn's Lionshead Rock, which fell in 2014. She estimates half of the songs on "A Little of This, A Little of That" were inspired by something that happened around town.
"I could be on a walk and something just releases," Flaherty said. "The words can start coming together. It could be 30 minutes, I can have a song that makes sense and something I feel good about. Maybe there is something there that someone can connect to, something that they'll carry with them when they go out in the world."
You can listen to both of her albums on her website, http://www.jeanlarie.com, on iTunes or Spotify. You can also buy the album from her or at Eagle Valley Music and Comics in Minturn. She also plays sporadically at Sticky Fingers in Minturn.
For as much as her music is a passion, it is also a craft she is now continuously working at. She attends "The Song School" — a weeklong music school — in Lyons, working on her composition, rhyming, vocals and guitar. Her intention with all of this is to reach people.
"What I would like to do is strike a chord in someone," Flaherty said. "Nothing is better than that. You know when you connect with the music."
Local Tracks is a new monthly series highlighting Eagle County musicians and bands. Want to see your band featured in the High Life section? Email arts and entertainment editor Krista Driscoll at email@example.com for more information.