Martha Tilston has carved her niche in the English folk scene with sharp, original songs that dissect the modern world. Here, she embraces tradition, with nine songs from the national hoard of nautical ballads and shanties: The Waters of Tyne, Fisher Lad of Whitby etc. Shorn of their Joni Mitchell mannerisms, Tilston’s delicate vocals recall Anne Briggs (not least on Black Waterside), and an array of guests from her extended family add robustness, though the arrangements (guitar, bouzouki, flute) remain low key. It’s an engrossing set that captures both the harshness and enchantment of maritime life, with the salt of sea air almost palpable.
Martha Tilston: The Sea review – embraces tradition with nautical ballads
Neil Spencer is a writer and an astrologer for The Observer