Steve Tilston’s voice, playing and songwriting are all swathed in experience, giving this fine collection of new material real quality and depth. Tilston has the all too rare ability to sit thoughtful lyrics on finely crafted melodies, using his own guitar – and those of his few close sidemen – to gently embellish without ever being too predominant. With a long career behind him, Truth To Tell often deals with travelling: he moved to London in 1970, and his experience of the Underground informs album opener Green Days.
Steve Tilston is a singer-songwriter-guitarist who has been recording great albums since the 70s, has been praised by fellow musicians, but has never received the recognition he deserves. Maybe that could change with the release of Danny Collins, an Al Pacino film inspired by a true story: John Lennon sent Tilston a letter offering advice, but he didn’t receive it for more than 30 years. Tilston has responded to the publicity in typical fashion, by releasing yet another thoughtful and classy album.
The veteran English folkie has taken an unexpected twirl in the spotlight recently as the inspiration for Hollywood’s Danny Collins, the story of a musician who receives a letter from John Lennon 34 years after it was posted. Al Pacino takes Tilston’s role. Here, the songwriter casts a lingering look over his career since that 1971 postcard, paying tribute to the influential Soho folk scene on Grass Days, mourning a friend on The Way It Was, and nodding to Nick Drake on The Riverman Has Gone, where Tilston’s keen political blade shows its edge.