With St. Patrick's Day fast approaching (March 17, at last look), the Irish-minded The Tinker's Own has picked a good time to release an immensely satisfying exploration of the traditional and contemporary folk side of the music of Ireland - and, to a lesser degree - of the British Islands and North America. Taking its name from the "Traveling People" of Ireland, the seven members who constitute the Costa Mesa based The Tinker's Own have an obvious love of folk music. Armed with traditional instruments such as Appalachian and hammered dulcimers, recorder, harp, mandolin, acoustic guitar, fiddle and even frying pan, the ensemble performs traditional folk songs as well as original material with an ear honed in on the band's roots. Whether performing upbeat jigs or sorrowful ballads, soprano Karen Curry and baritone Dan Dwyer are each up to the musical and emotional task, especially on "Southwind," where they trade lead vocals. Every member of the group gets to shine across the disc's 13 tracks (many of which are medlies of several classic tunes) with "Searching for Lambs/MacKinnon Brook" and the original "Take Me Away" among many highlights.

You might enjoy if you like: Naked to the World, The Chieftains.

ROBERT KINSLER, Orange County Register, 3/1/96

The Tinker's Own brings out Irish in a new release 1996 already may have established itself as a memorable year in terms of Orange County bands that have released self produced commercial compact discs worthy of attention. The Orange Pop mailbox could well satisfy the needs of even the most demanding of record label A&R execs, with works reflecting reggae, rock, punk, folk and funk styles.


The Tinker's Own "Old Enough To Know Better," Riverrun.

(4 check marks out of 5)

Old Enough To Know Better, the debut CD of The Tinker's Own is a superb album with great instrumentals and damn fine vocals. Get yourself a copy -you won't regret it! We reviewed it in Mostly Folk a few issues ago: it was one of the best releases of the year!

CAT ELDRIDGE , Booking Manager, Portland Folk Club, Portland, Maine

Putting together a mixture of original songs and ballads and
traditional tunes always presents a challenge to produce an album that stands as a coherent sum of complementary parts. This recording meets that challenge quite nicely.

Dan Dwyer is the major vocalist for the group, his soft baritone voice and lilting diction providing sweet but strong lead vocals. Karen Curry's voice provides a complimentary backup with nicely chosen harmonies.

Steve Dulson's original songs show his skill as a poet and capturer of the mood of romantic love and romantic places. Ramblin' the Moors, with words from a story his parents told him, and I Wish We Could Waltz There Again about a place where members of the group had had some wonderful times dancing, evoke a rare happy nostalgia. Jessica's Polka is a delightful original pentatonic tune with instruments combining beautifully to produce an ancient dulcimer-like quality. One can imagine one's self in a glade watching all manner of mythical creatures dance. When one bursts out of the forest to view the castle in the Kesh Jig, the scene is a bit rough around the edges, but overall pleasant.

Farewell, a beautiful Scottish air is also played beautifully on the whistle, harp and fiddle. Its a bit of an unlikely lead-in to Star of the County Down...another song often played as an instrumental tune and interpreted as a slow air. The vocal interpretation of the jolly swain is a bit surprising, but not unpleasant.

The traditional tune medleys are delightful, with nice mixing of instruments and credible playing and interpretation. The album is wrapped up with an unusally but beautifully developed rendition of Galician Waltz.

Instrumentally, Laurel Twomey's playing of recorders and whistle stands out as the musical gem of this recording. Her intonation, phrasing, and expression are no less than perfect, and the whole effect quite transporting. The celtic harp and hammered dulcimer lend solid accompaniment and some pleasing solos that are nicely complimentary to the vocals and lead instruments.

Overall, the album provides very pleasant and at times quite beautiful renditions of traditional tunes and some delightful new songs. Personally, I had more than one "I've gotta learn that!" reaction to the songs there, and consider it a worthwhile addition to any celtic collection.

CATHERINE BRITELL, Folk Signals, Folk Music Society of Orange County, November 1995

The Tinker's Own do a credible job with a selection of lovely traditional Irish airs and energetic jigs.... by applying a variety of instrumental colors to gorgeous, time tested melodies, The Tinker's Own carry on nicely. Laurel Twomey is the MVP of the seven-member band. Her recorder and penny whistle become chief melodic engines, with an appealingly rustic-sounding (if occasionally creaky) fiddle joining in. Harp, dulcimer and mandolin spice the arrangements. The group maintains a varied flow, pairing ballads with driving tunes, dabbling in a cappella harmony for a nicely wrought sea chantey, and alternating moods with traditional selections that include a lachrymose ballad (The Red-Haired Man's Wife), a playfully bawdy tune (The Jolly Tinker) and an energetic take on The Star of the County Down. Along with the oldies, The Tinker's Own offer a smattering of originals that sound traditional, including one of the album's highlights, the surging, romantic narrative Ramblin' the Moors.

MIKE BOEHM , Los Angeles Times, 10/2/95

...the group does a good, solid job ...nice originals...

STEVE WINICK , Dirty Linen Folk Music Magazine, Feb/Mar '96.

You did a wonderful job on The Tinker's Black Kettle. Some great music throughout on the recording, and I wish you the best of luck with it.

CHARLES DE LINT, Author, Composer, Ottawa, Canada, 9/7/95


Back to our home page!