"It was a great pleasure to work with Tinh. ACOUSTIC RAIN is a very powerful and personal statement of the whole gamut of emotions that emerge from the triumphs and tragedies of the human experience."
George Winston - Pianist
"... Tinh has developed an intricate, finger-style vernacular where every song seems to tell a tale, much of it inspired by the Vietnam War era"
Pulse Magazine, Tower Records - John Diliberto
" When a songwriter-slash-composer understands that simpler presentation is always better than elaborate acrobatics, we have the stage set for making beautiful music. Tinh does exactly that.”
Independent Songwriter Magazine,
PICK OF THE MONTH & a 5 star review
“A blend of originals and classic pieces, Tinh has put together an album filled with well-arranged, well-produced gems that will please the toughest critic. The cover photography and the conceptual theme of the CD is another elegant touch."
Independent Songwriter Web-Magazine
"Wow! Great cds!"
Kevin Vance, KPFA 94.1 FM, San Francisco, California
"This is a classy production from sound quality to cover art, a dramatic photo of a war helmeted Tinh embracing his guitar"
Minor 7th Magazine,
“I would like to introduce you to an exceptional new guitarist, Tinh Mahoney. I met Tinh three years ago when he opened a concert for me and was impressed by his unique style and emotional intensity.I produced his first album called "My Vietnamese Suite" which showcases his characteristic blend of classical, folk, and Asian guitar. Tinh recently wrote several exceptionally provocative pieces that expand on the Asian idiom. I hope you take the time to listen to the music and enjoy its ironic beauty. I also hope that Tinh's artistry will capture a large audience. I expect him to be the focus of aficionados for a long time.”
“Tinh's playing is musical and heartfelt.”
“. . . Like his first album, much of Acoustic Rain focuses on Tinh's Vietnamese heritage and the impact of war on Vietnam as well as America. That the album contains only solo acoustic guitar is quite impressive. There are times when you're tempted to hear more than one instrument, but there is only Tinh's six string. Despite Tinh's Asian background, much of the album sounds like traditional acoustic guitar music. The technique and complexity of the music is exceptional, some of the finest I've heard.
The album opens with We're Still Soldiers about the uncelebrated return of Vietnam veterans to America. Butterflies in a Pagoda puts Tinh in the position of a peaceful butterfly in a Buddhist temple with war just outside. Both the western and eastern influences can be heard in "Islamabad." Lots of strumming, building up to a frantic pace by the end of the song. "1968" is about the Tet Offensive, and the Asian chord progressions are apparent. I Remember John Fahey is an melodic piece that Fahey offered Tinh in its incomplete form around 1987. After his death, Tinh dusted it off and finished this pleasant rambling tune. The album closes with Tinh's version of Star Bangled Banner "to pay tribute to the peace, love, and war of the hippie generation." It is a gentle quiet piece and fits seamlessly with the rest of the album. This is a listenable album that will remain in my CD player at home for when I want mellow, but quality, mood music. Closing my eyes and listening to the incredible talent and the pristine sound quality of the album is quite an amazing experience.”
Written by David Schultz, Edited by David N. Pyles
"Guitarist Tinh Mahoney was born in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, moved as a child with his family to Islamabad, Pakistan, then on to the Philippines as a teen, and finally ended up in the U.S. to attend college as a young adult. As you can well imagine, years later, his music is as colorful as his past. The sound from his solo acoustic guitar is filled with subtle energy, evocative and powerful in its simplicity and openness. His influences are finely blended, a mixture which hints at both the East and the West, revealing a wealth of experience which relies more on feeling than showmanship. His latest album, Acoustic Rain, delves into his past without politics or propaganda, only with the images of music. And with the production help of George Winston, Tinh's creation reveals layer upon layer of depth found in one simple instrument." "We're Still Soldiers opens the disc with a sad tone, adding a small touch of Eastern phrasing between short, driving rhythms. He goes for a more reflective feeling in Mua Tren Song Ma (Rain On The Stallion River), which then turns to the more relaxed Butterflies In A Pagoda. The sharpness of Islamabad leans more heavily on Eastern flavor, while Liam's Lullaby exhibits a quiet and classical feel. As following songs reflect more history and memories, Tinh decides to close the album with a traditional rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner, a version which has a definite feeling of comfort and warmth. It's a fitting ending to a group of songs which span a lifetime spent around the globe, finding a place in the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Indie Music Reviews
"Tinh Mahoney is a very talented guitarist, make no mistake about it. His childhood in Vietnam and his transplant to America has definitely undoubtedly colored and informed his vision of the world, as evidenced by this collection of songs that recount the war in Vietnam and the years since. But the casual listener may miss Tinh's brilliance, because Tinh chooses to build his songs intricately, with a soft touch and an infrastructure of precisely picked notes rather than a barrage of power chords and solos." " . . .Tinh shows uncommon restraint, layer his melodies and trusting his instincts rather than relying on common tricks and fads. No other instruments appear on the entire album; the focus is on Tinh's ability to tell a variety of stories on the same six stringed source." “George Winston has imbued the disc with a light touch, allowing the full power of the songs to float and trickle out rather than come thundering down. This is a disc that deserved a careful and attentive listen, on a rainy day or a cool evening, when you have the time to soak it in. Tinh's music is a testament to the innate strength of mankind - the ability to survive the most horrible of events and still think that the world, and humankind, is a wonderful and beautiful thing."
Splendid E-zine Reviews
“The 11 emotionally packed songs make quite a deal. It's always amazing how heartfelt and complex the simpler albums can get. There will be times you'll think you are hearing a collaborative weave of several guitars, but it's just the one guy, thinking and feeling about a hard and pained life. The bravery and spirit comes out of this disc like few others can dream of. Not just from the dexterity of performance, from Steve Howe tricks to the mundane passion of Bob Dylan strums, but from the soul that creeps into the construction.” "The cover of the cd shows Tinh in a war-torn hard hat, hugging his guitar tightly, as if for dear life. That puts the picture of 48 minutes of audio you'll hear. It is a triumph of sound and the mind's ability to retreat into another world, whether it's in composition or intricate novel plotting or creatively sketching pictures of a missed homeland. Tinh's spirit in tracks like "Islamabad" are as exciting as they are violent and pumping, like working on a punching bag that comes in the shape of 6 strings and hard wood. So: if you get it, don't expect to be disappointed"
Music Dish Industry e-Journal
Acoustic guitarist Tinh in Concert - I have listened twice, now, to Viet guitarman and raconteur Tinh in concert. Along with the rest of his audiences, I've laughed aloud at this stories. Along with many, I've let tears spring over my cheeks, I've let them fall shamelessly off my chin. Then we all sit back, way back in our seats, and let Tinh's music carry us away. Here's the funny part: I've listened also to Tinh's wife, talking the way our women do about their boys. I've gazed into his precious son's perfectly almond eyes, the way some of us slightly-damaged fellas do. And all this looking and listening leaves me wondering about the distance between this regular krachang, this bumbling husband, this passable stew-cook, and that breath-taking musician, that heart-stopping storyteller. There are, of course, any number of possible explanations. Some Westerners might mention Tinh's top-drawer modern and classical music education at Willamette University under esteemed professor John Doan. Others will point to his unbelievable lucky tutelage under recently deceased acoustic guitar master John Fahey. Others still, would comment on Tinh's collaboration with renowned Windham Hill pianist George Winston. I'm not sure about any of that. Among our folk, we'll likely attribute Tinh's ferocious focus on his six-string, his awesome appeal to his Asian and American audiences alike, as lagu-deva. Song of God. A song we catch, a blessing we occasionally become, despite our dopey-selves. I like this explanation best.
Tinh's concerts blend many, many things. He bends his refined American acoustic guitar licks around his stubbornly Viet sensibilities. Tinh turns his tale of a boy's macabre interest in a perished Viet Cong crumpled in a drainage ditch, into a grown man's somber speculation over the difference, the real difference between the passing of any sobbing ma's precious son - Northerner or Southerner, American or not. He loses the distance, in decades and geography, between a lonely monsoon-soaked GI patrolling the perimeter of an Ap-talai rice paddy and our audiences of fashionably casual wage-earners soaking up an evening concern of acoustic rain. It's a funny thing. But Tinh does just that. Lagu-deva. However he does it, whatever the preferred explanation, folks need to see Tinh wherever he's playing anywhere within driving distance.
Written by Polo, Asian Reporter
Playing up the past: Tinh Mahoney puts his childhood memories of war in Vietnam and his hopes for peace into his music Half storytelling, half guitar solo, Tinh's Mahoney's live performances resemble the multi-layered life he led until landing in Oregon. Mahoney, now 40, fled Saigon as a 12 year-old three days before the city fell in 1975. He bounced to America, where he joined his mother and new stepfather; to Pakistan, where he picked up the guitar; and to the Philippines before arriving in Oregon at Willamette University. There, he met legendary guitarist John Fahey. With a mentor of Fahey's stature and friends like pianist George Winston, you'd think Mahoney would be on a tour bus crisscrossing the nation by now. But eager to support a wife and young son, and disillusioned with the business end of music, he launched a landscaping business with his wife. It wasn't until Fahey's death in 2001 that Mahoney went back into the studio. Mahoney, who'll perform in Portland on Sunday, spoke in a recent interview about why his music sounds the way it does and how he hopes it can bring world peace.
Q: You moved a lot as a child: Vietnam, the United States, Pakistan, the Philippines. did you always know you wanted to be a guitarist?
A: No, I was a very decent painter. I painted throughout high school and I thought, "Maybe it's not a great profession, maybe I couldn't make money being a painter." So I became a musician. (Laughs) When you're a kid, you're kinda not too smart. Either one kind of game my parents a heart attack.
Q: Guitarist John Fahey was a friend and mentor. He even produced a CD for you. Did he influence your music?
A: Actually, I don't sound like John. But as a person and a teacher, he was a mentor to me in a lot of ways. I have my own style of playing, although somebody has quoted me as being a Vietnamese John Fahey.
Q: So how do you describe your style?
A: I can't really describe it. People ask me that quite a lot. I use my music as a way to share the history of the Vietnam War through the eyes of a child, through what I have experienced. If you listen to a piece like "1968," you really hear the tensions and the strangeness of the chords. It's really tense, (like) what it's like to be there as a child during the Tet Offensive. If you listen to a song like "Liam's Lullaby," you can hear the tenderness inside that piece. If you listen to "To Heal the Wounded Hearts," you can see the sadness and thoughtfulness that goes in there. A lot of my pieces are based on actual feelings. I don't even worry about the notes and chords. They just kind of come out. I want people to listen to me because they want to hear those words within the music, instead of who I sound like.
Q: You left music for a while. Why?
A: Whenever you say the word music, there's the word business with it . . . I don't really like it. What I wanted to say was so personal. What I was actually doing was turning my creation, my feeling and my heart into making a business. It was just really hard for me. I removed myself from it.
Q: What's different now? Would you like to make a career out of music?
A: I just turned 40. Now, I feel like - the world being in the state that it's in, a lot of people want to go back to Vietnam - I figured this is a good time to share the experience. What I have to share is more important to me right now than thinking of it as, "OK, this is a business." I can't just sit in my home and keep that to myself . . . Some of the music really reflects what's going on in the world today, this war with Iraq and what's going on in North Korea. My music is not really talking about war, but in a way, it shows the human heart of people. I'm hoping that somehow by relation to what I'm saying, we can have a more peaceful world. . . For me to have a chance to travel all over America and to share with people from all walks of life, to me that's already an accomplishment. That's already so rewarding that being rewarded by money would never be the same.
Written by Su-jin Yim, The Oregonian
Tinh, (pronounced Dunn) was born in a rural Vietnamese village northeast of Saigon. His mother, involved with South Vietnam war efforts, left Tinh and his sister's rearing to her mother before marrying an American soldier, then moving with their new baby to the U.S. Tinh and his sister followed later, just before the fall of Saigon. The family then moved to Islamabad, Pakistan, where Tinh's step-father was stationed. Four year later, the family moved to Manila Philippines, where Tinh completed high school education. At Willamette University, Tinh studied classical guitar, the influences one hears in pieces like "Islamabad." He now lives with his wife and son in Oregon, where they have a landscaping business.
Wanda's Picks, The San Francisco Bay View
Even before he began recording his solo guitar music, Tinh Mahoney had led an eventful life. He was born in the seacoast town of Phan Thiet, Vietnam, and saw his share of misery in the "American War." His mother, a propaganda officer for the South Vietnamese government, married an American official, and at war's end, the family moved to Islamabad, Pakistan, then to Manila, Philippines, before Tinh (he uses only the single name, which is pronounced Dunn" - settled in Independence, Oregon. To hear Tinh tell it, his life truly changed the day he met legendary acoustic guitarist John Fahey at Willamette University. The two formed a close friendship, and the "American primitive" steel-string master encouraged Tinh to record a CD of impressions of his homeland, "My Vietnamese Suite" (1986), which Fahey produced. Tinh, in turn, produced Fahey's "I Remember Blind Joe Death," a follow-up to the guitarist's legendary Takoma recordings of the '60s.
Fahey died in 2001, but his musical mentoring is evident in Tinh's evocative East Wind Records release, "Acoustic Rain," on which Tinh pays complex autobiographical tribute to Vietnam and the soldiers who fought there, as well as to his late friend. "I recreate feelings that I have," Tinh said recently from his Oregon home. "I just want to tell the story. "Acoustic Rain" is really the second part of "My Vietnamese Suite," and it's more in your face." Tinh posed for the cover photo in an army helmet, clutching a guitar. "I got the idea for the photo from my song 'Home/Auld Lang Syne,' " said Tinh. "the soldier needs his music. It's the only thing that keeps him sane." When he isn't touring or recording, Tinh runs a landscaping business from his 27-acre farm, where he's planted tropical fruit trees to remind him of his boyhood. He went back for a visit five year ago, but now talks about the war years mostly at his college gigs, for students who don't know much history. " I want to open that little window in their ears."
Kelly Vance, East Bay Express, Billboard, San Francisco,
A guitar-playing friend heard a few chords of Tinh's latest disc, "Acoustic Rain," and said "He sounds like a Vietnamese John Fahey." I paused, listened, and realized that's it in a sentence. Then I read his bio, and sure enough, the late acoustic guitar great was Tinh Mahoney's mentor. Fahey produced Tinh's "My Vietnamese Suite," and Tinh is currently at work on a tribute to Fahey featuring Paul Geremia, Mitch Greenhill, Stephen Grossman, George Winston and John Renbourne.
Tinh (pronounced "dunn") was born in Vietnam. His mother married a U.S. state department worker, and he lived in Pakistan and the Philippines before moving to the States. "Acoustic Rain" is solo guitar in the Fahey hold - delicate, freeform-sounding, moody, contemplative, lots of open chords and delicate single notes. The songs are inspired by all that he has witnessed, the names giving resonance to the compositions: "We're Still Soldiers," "1968 (Tet Offensive)," "To Heal the Wounded Hearts" (inspired by the Vietnam War Memorial), "The Fiery Sky," "I Remember John Fahey." And a plea for peace in the album closer, his version of the "Star Spangled Banner," which he calls "a tribute to the peace, love and war of the hippie generation".
Joshua Mamis, The New Haven Advocate, Connecticut
Tinh Mahoney doesn’t just play the guitar; sometimes he attacks it with a force like the kind he saw growing up in
war-torn Vietnam. The Union - News for Nevada County, California