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Richard and Tova Tillinghast: Bio

Richard Tillinghast announces the release of his fifth CD, “The Door Is Open.” This is his second album with the band OneHum, which consists of Tillinghast on guitar, banjo, and vocals, Jason Russ on percussion, and Tova Tillinghast on cello and vocals. The CD has 14 original tracks, with themes ranging from giving thanks to the mothers of this world, rejuvenation, and rebirth, to getting lost on purpose under the northwestern moon. Tillinghast’s  songs center around his love of rural life in the Pacific Northwest. “The Door Is Open” refers to the cosmic or spiritual door, and our individual choice to walk through that door or not.

The CD was recorded in Bingen, Washington by Rick Hulett at Bigfoot’s Cave Studio.


From his first gig in London at age 19, Tillinghast has played hundreds of shows nationwide. Through the years, he has quietly built a reputation for warm, welcoming shows. His eclectic, heartfelt songs are often offset by hilarious comedic banter with the audience.

“His music is a deep, healing well.” - Edge Magazine, South Carolina


Richard Tillinghast’s previous CD, "Sweet By and By,” - The Dalles Chronicle

Pairing a guitar and banjo playing singer songwriter with a classically trained cellist is not an obvious choice, but it’s a musical marriage that works beautifully.

White Salmon’s (Washington) Richard Tillinghast has high praise for cellist Tova Cochrane, who plays in the Hood River Symphionetta. “She’s a good friend and an improvisational musician,” he writes, “who stretches her classical tendencies playing with a country boy like me.”

The pair will appear at The Mint in The Dalles for the release party of Tillinghast’s fourth CD, “Sweet By and By.”

Tillinghast is blessed with a unique voice. He’s been compared to everybody from Eddie Vedder to James Taylor. For us, it’s a blend of John Prine and John Stewart, with echos of Pete Seeger in the phrasing, but none of those do it justice; in the end, he’s an individual. 

And though he’s an excellent performer throughout, that voice was born to sing in a minor key.

Tillinghast also has a poet’s ear and economy of expression, with a sweet spot for the telling phrase.

On the song, “Orion the Hunter,” he writes: “The wind is raging, the fire is out of control/ and I’d cross the bridge back to you, but I’m tired of paying the toll.”

Tillinghast has paid his own set of tolls, and traveled the world extensively, including a seven year stint in Europe in which he worked as a horse wrangler, potter, and door-to-door salesman as well as a musician.

That experience gives and unusual depth to the songwriting, which is well matched with his guitar and banjo skills.

Richard Tillinghast was born a Louisiana cajun and raised a red-dirt, South Carolina poetry professor’s son. Moon shining, banjo picking, and James Dickey (author of Deliverance), were family friends. After college on a baseball scholarship, he took off for seven years of hitchhiking and motorcycling Europe, Africa, and the US. He recorded his first CD, “Men and Their Machines,” in 1996.

Southeastern music critic Dave Horner wrote, “He is a poet, he has traveled with his senses open and attuned and has distilled many thoughts, impressions, and feelings into a beautiful, restless volume of verse in song.”

“His music is a deep, healing well.” (Edge Magazine, SC)

“Bluesy acoustic slide guitar, mountain banjo, and ‘one-in-a-million voice’” (Creative Loafing, SC)