“The more you listen, the more there is to discover.” Bob Harris
Steve Tilston is one of our most celebrated songsmiths, widely recognised within the world of folk and contemporary music; the words, arrangements and subtle, quite superb guitar playing could be no one else.
Born in Liverpool and raised in the Midlands, Steve made his recording debut in 1971 with the classic An Acoustic Confusion and has been turning out quality albums ever since. Life by Misadventure, And So It Goes, Solo Rubato and Such and Such all featuring first-class song-writing, quintessentially English in style and typically Tilston, marking him out as one of this country’s finest writers. Though known as a songwriter, Steve has always had an ear for the tradition and included new interpretations of old favourites on his original recordings. Of Many Hands is his first “all-traditional” album; with unique arrangements of timeless classics.
He joined an illustrious band of guitarists including Martin Simpson, Michael Messer and Wizz Jones, when he was invited to contribute to the Guitar Maestro series of DVDs; a combination of live studio performance and interviews, revealing the real passion behind these talented musicians…If anyone ever deserved the moniker Guitar Maestro, it’s Steve Tilston!
A celebrated artist in Britain and abroad, winning accolades in Europe, Australia and the USA, others have also recorded his songs. Here’s to Tom Paine is the adopted theme song for the Tom Paine Society of America and it’s rumoured, has featured in Bruce Springsteen’s live set.
The writer of the classic songs The Slipjigs and Reels, Here’s to Tom Paine, The Naked Highwayman and the award-winning The Reckoning, is also a published author. Steve’s first novel All for Poor Jack is an historical tale set in Bristol and the New World, full of colourful characters. It’s a mighty good read and has been enjoyed by the likes of Bob Dylan no less!
In 2007 a 5 CD boxed-set was released Reaching Back: the Life and Music of Steve Tilston by Free Reed, the company behind the Richard Thompson anthology. In 2009 his early career was hi-lighted in a book Bristol Folk, the story of Bristol’s powerhouse folk & blues scene in the 60s & 70s. His 2011 release The Reckoning garnered 4-star reviews in the Guardian, the Observer and the Scotsman, a guest appearance on Later with Jools Holland and the BBC Four Songwriters’ Circle series, plus a Folk Award win: “best original song”. Followed, in 2013 by the highly acclaimed trio album Happenstance. Steve was also commissioned to write for the Olympics Radio Ballads series and the Harbour of Songs project.
It seems to me that Steve Tilston has never sought fame on anything but his own terms. He has been driven by his own enthusiasm for his chosen subject matter. He writes beautiful words and melodies and when our generation of songwriters is assessed on our contribution to our time, Steve's work will rank alongside much better known artists. Ralph McTell
Steve Tilston, singer songwriter and exquisite guitarist… is hard on the heels of Richard Thompson in the perennially underrated stakes. Q Magazine
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