Celebrated songsmith and guitarist Steve Tilston once again taps into the zeitgeist with an intriguing new album of subtlety and depth. In Such Times, Steve uses his new self-designed Brooks ‘Calder‘ guitar to skilfully showcase his superb musicianship and lyrical mastery.
01 DAYLIGHT RISING An early ramble on the moor and the song was there, waiting for me to stumble across it. Ultimately, it’s a projection of optimism, imagining the passing of the darkest of shadows.
02 SATELLITES DECREE The contrast between a climb along the hill tops, descending to Hebden Bridge via Lumb Falls (setting for Ted Hughes’ poem Six Young Men) with a previous night’s gig and homeward drive. The warp and weft of my life and both dear to me.
03 THIS IS LIVING WITH THE BLUES A new look at an older song that should be self-explanatory.
04 IT’S A CRYING SHAME A song about being young, homeless and with no apparent stake in society. Homelessness must be one of the hardest weights to bear and the inescapable fact that it’s on the rise is shameful.
05 A MILLION MILES AWAY Who knows where dreams will lead? I blame the banjo.
06 SUCH TIMES “I can remember a landscape much fairer, where cheats and dissemblers were seen to fall. Now they guffaw and peddle their scruples, for ermine and roubles and sneer at us all.”
07 12/8 PULL OFF A bluesy instrumental piece in 12/8 time with, you guessed it, multitudinous ‘pull offs’.
08 DUST FROM MY HEELS A different look at a song composed when I was a member of WAZ. When I originally wrote it, I was unaware of the country song lurking beneath the surface – there may be others.
09 WHERE YOUR MARK REMAINS A song for those whose passing has left a mark. It is mostly in 5/4 time.
10 WATERS OF MARCH One of my favourite songs from the pen of the great Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim. I have carried this song close to me for years and I love the places where it goes, lyrically, musically and visually.
11 THERE’S A MAN Observations and eavesdropping on snippets of conversation in nooks, corners and drinking holes.
12 NOTHING TO SEE HERE “Move along, move along, there’s nothing to see here. Pardon me for having a bit of a long, hard look.”
13 FOUR CORNERS An instrumental piece remembering a road-trip from Santa Fe to the Grand Canyon via Mesa Verde and Monument Valley.
14 MY MYSTERY TRAIN My first obsession was with trains and they loomed large in my early years. Scotty Moore’s guitar playing, as much as Elvis’s singing, on their early Sun recording of Junior Parker’s wonderful song ‘Mystery Train’, had all the ingredients to stop me dead in my tracks. That song has travelled full circle and I’ve hopped on board with this homage.
15 LITTLE FLAME Watching the effect music has on small children is a wonderful affirmation of the continuity of something both essential and special. I also wanted to leave this selection of songs on an optimistic note.
Steve Tilston: vocals, acoustic guitar and banjo
Hugh Bradley: double bass and flute
David Crickmore: piano, percussion, drums, autoharp and dobro slide
All songs written by Steve Tilston except track 10 (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
All songs published by Riverboat UK Music (MCPS), except for track 10 (Fairwood Music Ltd)
Produced by David Crickmore
Recorded at Splid Studios, Keighley, West Yorkshire Engineered by David Crickmore and assisted by
Additional recording at Corner House Studio, Keighley, West Yorkshire by Kurt Wood
Photos by Peter Lilley
Design by Tamsin Davies
Sleeve notes by Steve Tilston
Coordinated by Neil Record
Steve plays a Brook ‘Calder’ guitar for all the guitar tracks except ‘Little Flame’ where he uses a David White ‘Bogha Falda’ parlour classical.