3 BOXES – ‘Strings Attached’ ALBUM

3 BoxesFrom Richard Thompson, Pink Floyd and The Shadows comes a trio, all featured in Guitar Player’s ‘1,000 Great Guitarists’ with each contributing their unique ‘box’ (ie guitar) styles and a result that is much more than the sum of its parts.

3 Boxes sides are CLIVE GREGSON, MARK GRIFFITHS and ANDY ROBERTS, while the 4th side is legendary producer JOHN WOOD (John Martyn, Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, etc.), with whom they have just completed their debut album. Entitled Strings Attached, it contains 12 instrumentals, penned individually by Gregson, Griffiths or Roberts and played by all three, live in the studio. The album was recorded in Eastbourne, England and mixed by John Wood in his Analogue Studio in Northern Scotland.

3 Boxes defy any attempt to put them in one, since their self-penned music encompasses a vast range of musicality – from swing, folk and blues to ballads and beyond. Their dexterity and interplay creates a raft of rhythm and melody on which they sail far beyond any perceived barriers. Producer John Wood has captured the dynamics of their live studio performances and added a magical extra dimension of resonance and clarity.

The band travelled to Southern California to shoot their first video. Directed by award winning film-maker Nigel Dick, ‘Wranglin’’ features the trio deep in the Mojave desert, accompanied by their muse the Spirit Of The Desert, as they perform the lively track.

The trio will be promoting Strings Attached, released on April 21st, with a UK tour.

Artists’ website: http://www.3boxes.co.uk

3 BOXES – Strings Attached (Gregsongs CGCD1401)

3BoxesThe men behind the three boxes are former members of Plainsong: Andy Roberts, Clive Gregson and Mark Griffiths. All are experienced composers, players and singers which is why this album is rather puzzling. You see, Strings Attached is a set of guitar instrumentals written by the players and produced by the legendary John Wood. Not that there is anything wrong with that, except that I suspect that the majority of their audience would give their eye teeth for an album of songs from this trio.

The set opens with Roberts’ ‘Wranglin’’, typical of his penchant for country-rock guitar picking.and a good way to kick off. It’s followed by Griffiths’ ‘The Last Goodbye’ and like the later ‘The Car & The Great Salt Lake’ it has the expansive quality of a piece of film music. Gregson’s pieces tend to the quirky, at least as far titles go: ‘No Parrots In Tescos’, for example, although ‘Horny Pipey’ is what it says it is. Roberts is on particularly good form. ‘All The Pretty Little Horses’ and ‘I Have Lately Learned To Swim’ are both delightfully languid pieces and ‘Tick Tock’ harks back to the seventies. Tell me it was written for Nina And The Dream Tree and I’d believe you.

The cover pictures, taken from the ‘Wranglin’’ video, reminded me of The Blues Brothers – without the sharp suits, of course, and I suppose 3 Boxes embrace that spirit of doing your own thing. Strings Attached is an enjoyable album even if it isn’t the one we might expect or wish for.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: http://www.3boxes.co.uk

Watch the ‘Wranglin” video: