Dig up a baker’s dozen of historical stories about colorful characters from British Columbia. Mix in some whiskey-soaked drinking choruses and a couple railroad songs. Polish them to a shiny sheen with bluegrassy harmonies, Celtic mandolins, and slick Nashville production. What do you get? The latest record from the acoustic-folk group from Vancouver, Canada called Tiller’s Folly.
Led by singer-songwriter Bruce Coughlan, Tiller’s Folly has been recording and performing their unique brand of Nashville-folk for over ten years. I say Nashville because that’s the best way to describe their gorgeous arrangements and slick production–and I mean that in a good way! This is not the shallow, self-absorbed, melodramatic pop-pablum that passes for country music these days. Tiller’s Folly represents what the Nashville sound could have been… what it should have been, if you ask me. (You did ask, right?)
Tiller’s Folly stirred my blood on their latest record, Stirring Up Ghosts, a compilation of historically themed pieces from previous releases dating back to 1999. From their web site:
“Stirring Up Ghosts is a landmark project to commemorate the 150th anniversary of British Columbia. The aim of Stirring up Ghosts is to foster awareness of Pacific Northwest heritage, culture and history. It includes a 32 page booklet chock full of pictures and stories and 11 great songs including new recordings The Ghost of Simon Fraser and Down at Gassy Jack’s.”
The songs here range from nostalgic-beautiful to rowdy-singalong, and I recommend this record to anyone who’s not averse to the polished side of the folkie spectrum. Here’s a taster for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!
John Tod (MP3)