A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Dave Nachmanoff
Steve Tilston is in a class by himself. If you want to get an idea of his talent, imagine someone who can play guitar like John Rebourn or Bert Jansch while writing songs like Ralph McTell. Add to the mix a distinctive voice that is relaxed and warm and you have an exceptional talent. His new CD, AND SO IT GOES... has just been released on Rounder Records in the US. This excellent collection of songs had been self-released in the UK on Tilston's Hubris label, but should reach a much wider audience now. It is not a flashy album, but its charm sneaks up on you with repeated listening.
Tilston has a wonderful gentle vocal style that complements the tapestry of sound that he lovingly coaxes from his acoustic guitar. The recording is tastefully produced, with his guitar and voice at the heart (a number of songs are just Tilston alone). The accompanying instruments, including fiddle, cello, acoustic bass, piano, and flute (played by his wife and performing partner, Maggie Boyle), add color without distracting from the finely crafted songs.
The songs are quite diverse, but are held together by his unique vocal and guitar style. The opener, "Soon Comes the Rain," is Latin American in flavor, with Tilston playing some tasty Spanish guitar. Some of the songs are closer to his English folk-baroque roots (he was part of the London folk scene in the late 60s), with some lovely melodies and skillfully written lyrics. A few numbers are bluesy, including a song that was co-written by Chris Smither entitled "Can't Shake These Blues." This is the work of a seasoned artist in top form.