Steve Tilston Biography

Stephen Tilston, 26 March 1950, Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Tilston has an almost ‘classical’ feel to his style of guitar playing, probably enhanced by his experience touring with the Ballet Rambert. Since his debut album in 1971, Tilston has continued to work in a solo capacity or with his wife Maggie Boyle (although the couple separated in 1999). He has also performed in partnership with Martin Jenkins of Whippersnapper and (with Boyle) as part of John Renbourn’s group Ship Of Fools, whose eponymous album received much acclaim from the folk press. He features the 19th century instrument the Arpeggione (or bowed guitar) in many of his performances. The 1987 album, Life By Misadventure, mixed a variety of styles and influences, but retained his laid-back vocal style.

As a result of his different musical commitments, Tilston has toured the USA, Europe, Canada and the Middle East, and continues to work the folk club circuit in Britain. He has also run the independent labels Run River Records and Hubris Records. Tilston and Boyle’s 1996 release, All Under The Sun, featured a stellar cast of backing musicians including Maartin Allcock, Dave Mattacks and Dave Pegg. In 1998, Tilston joined Allcock and Pete Zorn in WAZ!, releasing Fully Chromatic the same year. His solo output in the early 00s has included the charming live set Live Hemistry (2001) and the jazzy Such & Such (2003). In 2007, Tilston’s career was celebrated on the 5-CD box set Reaching Back.


Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.


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