November 6, 2021

Martha Tilston is an English folk singer songwriter based in Cornwall with over 20-years of experience as a recording artist. She is the daughter of the singer songwriter Steve Tilston and stepdaughter of the Irish folk artist Maggie Boyle so it is fair to say that she has music in her blood and was, literally, born to perform.

Tilston’s first two releases were under the name of Mouse which was a duo with guitarist Nick Marshall which included touring as support to Damien Rice hall and then she branched out as a solo performer releasing a further nine very well received albums. Indeed, 2007’s Of Milkmaids And Architects saw her nominated in the prestigious 2007 Radio 2 Folk Awards. We can now add acting and directing to her long CV as The Tape is the soundtrack to the film of the same name which sees Tilston in her first acting role which sees her playing a Cornish singer song writer having difficulty finding her place in the scheme of the things until a tape recording of an album that she is working on changes her life, sounds a little familiar?

What is truly remarkable though is that the soundtrack music was recorded live on set which makes Tilston a real force and one who is not afraid to walk the tightrope. The music shows a woman of real talent with a delightful voice and has a seeming innocence with a beautiful, fey fragility that gives her a real sense of the ethereal and it is almost as if she is an outsider looking in at the complex world we live in and the lives we lead. The music is steeped in atmosphere being deliciously simple based around startling piano themes, haunting violin and guitars that are so evocative and it is almost as though you can smell the salt air and see the waves crashing on to the rocks on some beautiful and wild Cornish bay. There is something heart aching and yearning about her delivery and the lyrics are thrilling and personal, it is almost as though you have received a personal invitation and only you are privileged to see and hear the real Martha Tilston.

The music and delivery is very poetic and includes some spoken words which adds to the otherworldliness of the album and there are some male vocals too which are not credited (at least on the PR) but they blend in perfectly with Tilston’s sublime delivery. This is an intense and slow-burning album that is just so beautiful and warm although there are plenty of starker moments that introduces moments of melancholy to act as a stark counter-point and, ultimately, gives much to reflect upon. Martha Tilston has a sound and delivery that is uniquely her own but try to imagine a touch of Kate Rusby, a little of Susan Vega and Joan Baez with the merest hint of a certain Kate Bush and you are heading in the right direction.

Please do not be put off by the fact that it is a folk/roots album as this is a class work by a truly unique British singer songwriter and just one listen is enough to make you want more and more of the girl with so much talent that it is unbelievable.

The Tape

  1. Sadness Of The Sea (4:18)
  2. Come Alive (5:02)
  3. Bigger Bridges (4:04)
  4. Wild And Rocky Shores (2:30)
  5. Say It Back (3:44)
  6. Western Sun (3:35)
  7. Goshawk Child (1:55)
  8. Dean Younk A Gernow (0:48)
  9. We Sing (3:34), Oxygen (5:12)
  10. In This Song (4:27)