ALBUM & LIVE REVIEWS
Praise for “Fingertips of the Silversmith”
“Musically this album is magnificent, mixing elements of jazz, blues, folk and Americana. The drums and bass power the album along allowing Cooke to fill in the gap with understated guitar riffs. The songs are packed with interesting flourishes and chord changes throughout, constantly changing the landscape, never satisfied to settle on a simple riff, reminiscent of Prefab Sprout at their crafted and catchy best.”
81/100 – Album Review – Highbrowse.ie
“Talking to various music journalists, they all reckon that you’re the next big thing, in the way that Conor O’Brien and Villagers was last year.”
Fionn Davenport – Culture Shock – Newstalk
“this gently charming second album proves that he’s still very much his own man.
One of the songs here is inspired by the death of Elliott Smith, but in fact that tortured genius’s influence can be heard all the way through Fingertips Of The Silversmith – a dreamy, understated collection of Americana-tinged folk-rock, marked out by Cooke’s poetic sensibility and keen eye for life’s absurdities. And while his illustrious backing band includes the likes of Colm Quearney, Cora Venus Lunny and David Geraghty of BellX1, their classy playing never overshadows the main man’s quietly soulful vocals.”
**** – The Sunday Business Post
“Fingertips of the Silversmith is delivered in a crisp clean tone with the songs banding together to form an incredibly tight, allusively diverse record.
Each one displays perfect melodies, excellent structures and pure enjoyment.
…One of the strongest albums an Irish artist has come out with this year. It may have been five years since Tadhg’s debut album, Wax & Seal but Fingertips of the Silversmith has made it worth the wait.”
“steeped in the kind of Americana that fans of Elliot Smith and Ryan Adams will instantly find favour with. [sic]… Cooke’s ear for a memorable hook is well in evidence on tracks such as the soulful ‘Grinding Teeth’ and the jangly power-pop of ‘Not In My Nature’… The arrangements are understated and the backing, courtesy of players like drummer Kevin Brady and bassist David Redmond… is stellar”
HotPress Album Review
“He’s top class”
The John Creedon Show, RTE Radio 1
“‘Out Of Reach’ is a charming alloy of soul and folk that’s certain to go down a treat with fans of Van Morrison’s jazz man days. File under yum.”
HotPress Single Review
“Artful, beautifully produced… simply fantastic!”
“Music Site Of The Week : Swapping Tadhg for the cooler moniker of Tiger, this folk jazz rocker’s new album is produced by BellX1′s David Geraghty… worth checking out!”
PRAISE FOR “WAX & SEAL”
“Charting a course between noir-ish torch-songs and heart-on-sleeve folk-pop, 2005 debut album Wax & Seal pointed to the arrival of a fully realised talent.”
Standing apart from the singer-songwriter mainstream can be quite a chore nowadays. Tadhg Cooke, a Meath-born strummer with a line in Jeff Buckley-tinged folk rock, makes a greater effort than most. For one thing, he is seldom without his trademark fedora hat. Donning 1920s-style headgear may not seem a hugely rebellious gesture, yet you wouldn’t catch Damien Rice or Glen Hansard at it. Which is probably the point. There’s lots of theatricality in Cooke’s music too. Charting a course between noir-ish torch-songs and heart-on-sleeve folk-pop, 2005 debut album Wax & Seal pointed to the arrival of a fully realised talent. Since then, Cooke has bravely followed his own route, favouring smaller theatre venues over sweaty rock clubs and touring extensively abroad. Whether this independent streak will be enough to win a substantial fanbase remains to be seen. Certainly, there are some promising harbingers : the 2006 single Know You Hate Me was a minor radio hit; support slots with Damien Dempsey and Bell X1 have further raised his profile. And at last year’s Electric Picnic he shared a stage with the latter’s guitarist, Dave Geraghty, and violinist Cora Venus Lunny. For now Cooke remains largely an anomaly : an Irish singer who looks and sounds like nobody but himself.
Gig Review – Eamon de Paor, Metro
“Eminently likeable, utterly enviable.”
Comparisons can be odious, but think Badly Drawn Boy crossed with Gallagher & Lyle, with a tincture of John Lennon tossed in for good measure, and permit yourself the wryest of smiles. Tadhg Cooke’s solo debut crisscrosses so many terrains that your musical compass may quiver with the sheer magnetic challenge of Wax & Seal. It’s the sleight of hand in his wordplay that charms. A computational linguist, Cooke gets his kicks by applying a distinctly poetic sensibility to the music: placing the right words in the right order. George’s St Arcade is the stuff of magical maudlin bedsitland; Sparks is drawn from the same word well as Arthur Riordan’s Improbable Frequency. Eminently likeable, utterly enviable. ****
“Wax & Seal” review – Siobhán Long, The Irish Times
“Soft yet strong, it’s got that Jeff Buckley quality to it that most vocalists crave.”
So Saturday begins, again at The Olympia, this time with Tadhg Cooke. Cooke’s voice immediately grabs you. Soft yet strong, it’s got that Jeff Buckley quality to it that most vocalists crave. Given a fair wind, he could soon be looking to headline this venue next year.
HWCH Festival Review – Steve Cummins, Hot Press
“Wax & Seal is a confident, impressive debut”
“his highly assured debut album “Wax & Seal” sounds as far removed from the beardy brigade of po-faced strummers as Pablo Aimar’s deft touches are from the journeymen footballers of, say, West Brom. Thankfully, it’s also a refreshingly cliché-free zone.
Take album standout “I Know You Hate Me”, a post break-up song par excellence, where far from lamenting the loss of his one true love, our hero is rubbing her nose in the fact that he’s moved on, with a chorus that most would-be troubadors would trade their broken hearts for: “I got a new love breaking me in / helps me forget about the way I’ve been”.
Unlike many songwriters, Cooke can do happy as well as melancholy: the joyous “Live What You Feel” wangles free from the stranglehold of earnestness to soar into seriously celebratory airspace.
“Wax & Seal” is a confident, impressive debut that’s best summed up by Cooke himself, on the gorgeous “Like A Stone”: “I don’t believe your stories / I can’t believe your truths / But you’re sweetly infectious / And it’s hard to stay aloof”.
“Wax & Seal” album review – John Walshe, HotPress
“Unique brand of shimmering rock”
“Cooke’s unique brand of shimmering rock”
“Cooke does a neat line in understated emotive acoustic rock, and this EP is gilded with intimacy and introspection”
“success and acclaim is very much his for the taking. ”
“George’s St Arcade” single review – Tanya Sweeney, HotPress
“One of the finest singer/songwriters in this country”
‘One of the finest singer/songwriters in this country to not receive the plaudits that he deserves, Tadhg has something a little special about him. His ability to mould together sensitivity and elegance with his remarkably distinctive voice casts him high above similar artists. His album “Wax & Seal” is a great example of just how good he is.’
Gareth Maher, CLUAS.com
“sung with a velvet voice to a virtuoso guitar, indeed a small sensation!”
The big discovery of the evening is the phenomenal songwriter Tadhg Cooke from Ireland… His dreamy songs that float between melancholy and wit are acoustic pop pearls with a breath’s touch of jazz, sung with a velvet voice to a virtuoso guitar, indeed a small sensation!
Gig Review – tz (TagesZeitung), Bayern, Germany
“Instead of being yet another dreary exercise in introspection, Wax & Seal is a vibrant album with a poetic sensibility and a keen eye for life’s absurdities.”
The problem with Irish singer-songwriters today is that many of them seem to have a vocabulary of about fifty words (four of them being ‘my’, ‘girlfriend’s’, ‘left’ and ‘me’). Tadhg Cooke is thankfully a little different. The young Meathman’s soft dreamy compositions are driven by lyrics that are consistently arresting and thought-provoking. And instead of being yet another dreary exercise in introspection, Wax & Seal is a vibrant album with a poetic sensibility and a keen eye for life’s absurdities. There’s more than enough fine songs on this impressive debut to suggest that he’s got a big future ahead of him. ****
Album review – Andrew Lynch, Entertainment.ie
You can become engrossed in Tadhg Cooke’s songs or simply listen to the low key, but refreshingly individual voice.
Badische Zeitung, Baden Würtenberg, Germany – Lukas Meyer Blankenburg