Reviews 2016

Woodman Folk Club - Reviews

Steve Tilston

Les Jones 18 March 2016

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I know you’ll find this hard to believe but until tonight I had never actually seen Steve Tilston perform live. Ok I have all the CDs – including the latest now – and I have seen and heard him on TV and radio; but never live. It was worth the wait. His guitar playing and his vocal style are both totally idiosyncratic. He has been in the business since 1974 and has played everywhere from small clubs to large venues. His easy going delivery between songs is infectious. There were the odd quips especially at the expense of Paul from NTP who had earlier in the week had an accident with his hair trimmer. Steve gave him the nickname Ivan Denisovich which I cannot spell so I will not mention it. One thing I learned was that he is not enamoured of the free percussion the regulars are willing to provide as we are not familiar with 5/4 time. Something we must practice for the future perhaps – or not.

As usual the evening was divided into two halves ( "spasms" at the Woodman or "brackets" in Australia according to Steve). NTP and Velvet Green provided the warm up for the first and Bryn Phillips for the second. It had been over two years since Steve was last with us since when he had produced a new CD much of which he performed on the night.

The session began with Rocky Road followed by a bluesy version of Jacaranda then The Fisher Lad of Whitby which sounded from what Steve said a bit like Trigger’s Broom – as he had changed the lyrics a little since Whitby hardly got a mention originally and then gave it a different tune. The next three songs; The Riverman Has Gone; Cup and Lip (on which he played a wonderful hand crafted 10 stringed guitar. I had meant to ask how he tuned it but I forget sorry) and Grass Days – an autobiographical piece about his early years - were from the new cd and the half finished with his version of the Hank Snow song A Fool Such As I – Steve’s version of which lends itself more to Elvis.

The second half began with an instrumental 12-8 Pull Off followed by an old favourite The Road When I Was Young. Running Out of Road and (Do You Know the Way to) Lasting Love were from the new cd. The King of the Coiners was preceded by a short lesson on the art of coining and the life of David Hartley the self-styled King who meets the traditional sticky end. Yo Me Voy from the new cd gave Steve another chance to play the 10 string – and no I still don’t know how he tuned it. There was then another song which I failed to get the title of, finishing as I had hoped with the world renown Slip Jigs and Reels. There was of course an encore (in 5/4 time) The Rambling Comber and then we all went home. Thank you Steve.