Steve Tilston is rightly acknowledged within the world of folk and contemporary music as one of the UK’S most enduring and multi-talented singer/songwriters .
As a journeyman folk singer and musician he’s been in the business since the early 1970’s and in the intervening decades has enjoyed creative partnerships with major folk figures from Bert Jansch to Jez Lowe. Although a songwriter he also has an ear for the folk tradition with classic songs like Slipjig and Reels, Here’s to Tom Paine, the Naked Highwayman and The Reckoning.
The Reckoning earned the accolade of Best Original Song in the 2012 BBC Folk Awards and in 2015 he was named Male Vocalist of the Year in the Fatea Awards. Here’s to Tom Paine is now the adopted theme song for the Tom Paine Society of America and he’s lost count of the number of versions of The Slipjigs and Reels.
As a guitarist he was invited to contribute to a CD series of “Guitar Maestros alongside Wizz Jones and Martin Simpson. More recently he’s toured with his daughter, Martha Tilston and teamed-up with the Leeds-based alt-country band , The Durbavilles,
He is also a published author. Steve’s first novel Allfor 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!
Top achievement for unintended name-dropping though must go the fact that In August 2010, it was reported that John Lennon had penned a letter of support to Tilston in 1971, though it was never delivered. Lennon had been inspired to write to the then 21-year-old folk singer after having read an interview in ZigZag magazine in which Steve admitted he feared wealth and fame might negatively affect his songwriting.
Steve did not become aware of the letter’s existence until a collector contacted him in 2005 to verify its authenticity. “Being rich doesn’t change your experience in the way you think,” Lennon wrote. It was signed “Love John and Yoko” This letter was the inspiration behind the 2015 film Danny Collins.Steve’s latest project is as a duo with Costa del Folk favourite, Jez Lowe.