Joe Tilson is better known as the bass guitarist with punk band Random Hand but 'Tightrope' is his second solo album, following 'Embers' and it's deserving of similar critical acclaim.
These songs linger long in the ear. It doesn’t take much to get acquainted, and Joe’s voice is rich, textured and you could say, all the way up from the bass chakra as delicious as Richard Hawley. With his punk heart and rebel mind, this one beats to a different drum. It’s more folk with rich melody and full-on honesty and integrity.
The themes are difficult ones; death, war, misery, and other challenges. It hits them all full on. Steeped in influences from his childhood amidst smokey, beer-swilling folk clubs, where his parents – the renowned folk artists Maggie Boyle and Steve Tilson – held court and shared their music.
It’s as if Tilson has gone back to his roots. This album still holds true to the ethos of rebellion and punk as he continues to walk the tightrope between that punk heart and folk soul. The music is in his blood. You can hear that in these pulsing, beautiful songs – full of life, struggle, and breaking hearts. He tackles the tough themes full on.
Opening with ‘A Love Song Too Late’ – an excellent song that has you hooked, the record weaves its way through ‘Flowers’ and into ‘Armistice Day’. And as I’m writing this on Armistice Day, it absolutely captures the essence of war in all its futility and pain.
‘Minutes To Midnight’ is another stand-out track that holds court in your head long after. This is an album that can hold its own. It’s tough yet beautifully formed – definitely worth exploring the artist’s take on walking that tightrope.