Martha Tilston,
Machines of Love & Grace
(independent, 2012)

When you listen to Martha Tilston, you will hear a variety of musical influences including traditional British folk music and American folk music from the 1960s. There are some obvious Joni Mitchell touches in her songwriting, primarily as far as how she crafts lyrics and uses imagery to tell a story. She's the daughter of English singer-songwriter Steve Tilston, who worked with English folk legends like Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. Like many of her fellow musicians who grew up in a musical household with famous parents, her own music is a nice blend of traditional sounding and modern influences.

Machines of Love & Grace is a very enjoyable collection of original songs. Several of her songs address social and political issues, but she often chooses to do it in a rather subtle and gentle manner. "Wall Street" was inspired the Occupy movement and the stock market. "Suburbia" looks at increasing urbanization. "Silent Women" looks at feminist issues and has a melody that reminds me of some of Sandy Denny's music.

Of the non-political songs, "Blue Eyes" has some obvious early '70s Joni Mitchell influences. One of this CD's more eclectic songs is "Survival Guide," which has an alternative folk sound. One of my favorites is "Stags Below," which was written about wild deer that roam in several parks; it combines interesting lyrics with a nice melody.

I first discovered Martha's music several years ago, and I have enjoyed both her songwriting and her voice. She also backs herself up with a good group of musicians. On Machines of Love & Grace, she continues her tradition of making good music.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Dave Townsend

15 December 2012

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