Tinderbox – All Grown Up “…must be a strong candidate for folk album of the year.” *****
John Roffey, Maverick Magazine – March 2017
A fifth studio offering and Tinderbox have raised the bar even higher.
Monique has a voice to die for and as ever, Dan Tucker’s acoustic finger picking guitar work complements the vocals perfectly. Latest recruit Bob Burke has added an extra dimension as well as taking over production responsibilities. Unlike the folkies’ regular diet of heartbreak and broken relationships, Tinderbox explore the trials of growing up and the joys of bringing up a young family. On this album, they experiment with blending many of the tracks together to great effect.
Three numbers, Consequence, Down the Track and Leave Your Light On were given an initial airing on their 2014 live offering LIVE AT THE COTTAGE but are significantly enhanced with the addition of a full backing band. For the lyric insert, Tinderbox have delved into their albums of family photographs many of which are reflected in the material on the album; a novel touch. The beautiful final track, Little Bird has the bonus of a prolonged instrumental finale which only goes to emphasise Dan Tucker and Bob Burke’s extraordinary guitar talents. I can’t keep this one out of the CD tray.
‘All Grown Up’ from Tinderbox “… a five-star album, no question.” *****
Tim Carroll, FolkWords – March, 2017
Growing old isn’t optional it’s a fact of life, growing up is a decision … nothing more. Eventually, a time comes when the former makes its presence felt, like it or not. Then again, that still leaves time to make a choice about the latter … some make it wisely, others live with regret, for a few find the decision is made for them. ‘All Grown Up’, the latest album from Tinderbox explores both growing old and growing up, the impact of both and how they touch both young and old … and the result is perfect, simply perfect. This is a five-star album, no question.
The foundations that underpin Tinderbox encompass all the constituents needed to create something exceptional … Monique Houraghan’s startling, clear and devastatingly emotive voice, the musical interplay between guitarist and songwriter Dan Tucker and multi-instrumentalist Bob Burke, and their intuitive interaction as a trio. This time around they’ve widened and expanded the Tinderbox sound by adding extra instruments to the line-up … lead guitar breaks, violin and whistle accents … adding spellbinding depth to the whole.
Listening to this album is an unreserved pleasure … the contemplative memories of ‘Easy and Carefree’, time-worn guidance everyone recognises in ‘Life Is For The Living’, the importance of the ordinary sealed within ‘Down The Track’ and with its melody to die for, the singularly beautiful ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’. There’s the purity of unconditional love in ‘Leave Your Light On’, the potent brilliance of ‘All Grown Up’ revealing the deep understanding of what it means to be a parent and the vivid child-imagination of ‘Sparkledust’.Even the insert, with its collection of faces displaying youthful innocence, expectation and promise contributes to the undeniable magnetism of ‘All Grown Up’.
Tinderbox are Monique Houraghan (vocals) Dan Tucker (guitar) and Bob Burke (guitar, piano) and playing with them on ‘All Grown Up’ are Dave Eales (drums) Darren Shaw (percussion) Lucy Kavanagh (bass) Frank Boyle (lead guitar) Catherine Burke (whistles) Annie Bayliss (violin, viola) with backing vocals provided by Monique, Bob, Annie and Gareth Lee.
“…an album that seems to find a way to the play button with ease…”
Neil King, FATEA Magazine – March 2017
When your Twitter id is @tinderboxduo and your website introduces you as an award winning acoustic trio, there might just be a bit of a perception problem, but perception problems can be disorientating in a good way, something that stops you from just having the same take on what’s been placed in front of you.
It’s been five years since the last studio album, “Counting Time” was released. In the intervening years, children have been born, there was time to record a live album, “Live At The Cottage” and Bob Burke has been added to the line-up, though the reality is that his has been a part of Tinderbox alongside the lilting and distinctive vocals of Monique Houraghan and picking and strumming of guitarist Dan Tucker, for a while now.
The album takes a journey along the acoustic spectrum, never quite settling on one genre which makes the album difficult to pin down and crucially ensures that each song gets exactly what it needs to bring out the best of instrumentation and narrative. Similarly from my perspective the album title, “All Grown Up”, really encapsulates the sense of growing up from several different angles, both personal and how we view the generations that are coming up behind us and to a lesser extent those that are travelling before.
The crucial thing is that it’s “All Grown Up” and not growing old. Growing up still gives you a scope to be young and vibrant, still able to surprise, growing old is the road to fossilization and stagnation. This is definitely an album that retains both life and the ability to surprise, whilst the narrative is more mature, more reflective of the different cards that you play as a family.
“All Grown Up” is a well-rounded album, reflective in both narrative and instrumental phases, though not without changes in pace and subject. It’s an album that seems to find a way to the play button with ease and you can’t say fairer than that.
The ‘All Grown Up’ tour – Tinderbox “… the involving experience of their company never disappoints”
Tim Carroll, FolkWords – April 07, 2017
Empathy is an embracing word … it encompasses understanding, responsiveness, sympathy and compassion … all were evidenced in profusion on Stage 2 at The Stables in Milton Keynes. The reason was an intimate set from Tinderbox, and the involving experience of their company never disappoints.
The empathy between these artists and their audience is palpable, as is the sympathetic communication between them, which they are more than willing to share with their audience. The musical interaction between Dan Tucker and Bobby Burke weaves an enchantment as guitars dance and duel, while Monique Houraghan’s sparklingly pure voice seduces instantly.
The occasion was a stop on their tour to launch the new album … ‘All Grown Up’ (reviewed earlier by FolkWords) which is Tinderbox at their very best. And witnessing them live demonstrates one reason why ‘All Grown Up’ is so good … the obvious mutual sensitivity that exists when three people join together to create Tinderbox, and that my friends is empathy. They treated the audience to some old (really old as it happens) favourites, some well known songs, before moving into the delights of ‘All Grown Up’. Songs from the album included their look back at the ‘once was’ of life with ‘Easy and Carefree’, the reflected love of ‘Life Is For The Living’, looking forward with ‘Down The Track’, the fragile parent-experience of ‘All Grown Up’ and the magical moments that come through the vivid child-imagination of ‘Sparkledust’ … mine were not the only tear-filled eyes.
Tinderbox at The Stables were Monique Houraghan (vocals) Dan Tucker (guitar) and Bob Burke (guitar, bass). Get a chance to see Tinderbox live … take it. Tour details and gig information here: tinderboxacoustic.com/gigs
Tinderbox – Live at The Shelley Theatre “…testament to Tinderbox’s popularity…a superb concert.”
John Roffey, Maverick Magazine – March 2017
Out of the blue, the latest Tinderbox album ALL GROWN UP dropped through the letterbox for review; a masterpiece if ever there was one; so the launch of the album at the Shelley Theatre just up the road in Boscombe was an opportunity too good to miss. Such is the popularity of the group in this neck of the woods; a sell-out was a foregone conclusion.
But first, a six strong set from Cornwall’s highly talented singer/song writer duo Gareth Lee and Annie Baylis. By the third number, Annie had already excelled on fiddle, keyboards and accordion! Highlight for me was Biggest Enemies and they did a pretty good job on Speed of the Sound of Loneliness although inevitably, I found my mind wandering to the sounds of John Prine and Nancy Griffiths.
Enter Tinderbox, Monique Houraghan (lead vocals), Dan Tucker (acoustic guitar) and Bob Burke (guitar, bass, piano) with Frank Boyle guesting on electric guitar to open with one of their concert staples River to the Sea, a sad tale of lost love. Then it was down to the real business of the evening with Tinderbox giving us all but one of the 12 excellent songs on ALL GROWN UP interspersed with their political commentary, The State of Play and what has become something of a ‘signature’, Travelling. ALL GROWN UP is a conceptual album focussing on the couple’s young children growing up and the trials and tribulations of parenthood. Such albums have a tendency for excess ‘mushiness’ but not this one.
Monique’s highly innovating song writing and gorgeous vocals, Dan Tucker’s expert finger picking guitar work and Bob Burke’s sympathetic production ensure that this should be a strong candidate for folk album of the year. With Frank Boyle’s electric guitar as well as Gareth and Annie joining in for much of the set, Tinderbox was able to replicate exactly the quality fare on the album.
With most numbers on the album intertwined it would be almost inappropriate to pick out highlights and anyway, each and every one was a highlight! The title track has Monique reflecting on daughter Orla’s first day at school, her voice oozing with the emotions that motherhood brings as she watches her little girl disappear through the gates with the
realisation that she is starting on the long journey to adulthood. Sparkledust is a lovely story of a fairy visiting the bedroom and Don’t Wake Me Up finds Monique in the midst of a dream. My favourite was Leave Your Light On; wonderful powerful vocals. Just one instrumental; Caressing Nowhere which Dan wrote when 19 years of age and included as a bonus track on the album.
Vigorous activity on the merchandise counter was testament to Tinderbox’s popularity and a superb concert. If this group is still under the radar, check them out, you will not be disappointed.