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Richard and Tova Tillinghast: Press

Richard Tillinghast is a singer/songwriter who blends the sounds of roots Americana with a contemporary message of social responsibility and hope. He and his new cd "The Door Is Open" are “alive with passion, fresh energy, and joy” (Columbia Gorge Weekly). His style is unique – a mixture of Appalachian mountain sounds, quiet spirituality, and the humor of a kayaker, horse wrangler, and world traveler. From his first gig in London at age 19, he has played thousands of shows nationwide. Recordings include “Blue Tattoo,” (1995), “Men and Their Machines,” (1996), “Onehum,” (2005 with Jason Russ), "Sweet By and By (2009), and his new one, "The Door Is Open (2014). He has performed up and down the Columbia River Gorge and been invited to festivals from Arkansas (Ozark Folk), to North Carolina (Black Mountain Music), to Colorado (Telluride Mountain Film). “Soulful porch side rhythms.” (Hood River News). “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) engage audiences with songs that capture today’s times.

Festival blurb

From the Columbia Gorge comes this talented and eclectic folk duo. Richard sings in a warm, expressive baritone and plays supple slide guitar and banjo, while Jason thumps, taps, slaps, and rattles out an empathetic percussive groove with shakers, tablas, bells, and box drum. Reminiscent of folk innovators from Greg Brown to Iron and Wine, Tillinghast and Russ deliver a rich, impressive (album) and show great promise for what may come next.

Annie Bloom's (Portland, Oregon) Books and Music Review
The issue here is poetry. Don’t expect Richard Tillinghast’s first solo album, Men and Their Machines, to leap into your hands by virtue of its melodies, innovative musical forms, or arrangements. He is a poet; he has traveled America and abroad, with his senses open and attuned and has distilled many thoughts, impressions and feelings into a beautiful, restless volume of verse in song.
He uses the music as a vehicle for his lyrics. He employs his guitar as a percussive force, to drive the words along. Other musicians featured on the album use their talents to complement the song-poems, but never overshadow them. From a purely musical standpoint, the most powerful instrument on the album is Tillinghast’s voice. It is the perfect medium for the subject matter: the longing, the open spaces, the always moving and leaving of which the songs speak.
Tillinghast’s birth signs must be full of air and water, as his songs teem with images of wind, flight, feathers and birds, and with rivers, floods and water. Of course, these are images of movement, travel, and sometimes escape and oblivion.
This is not to downgrade the music itself. Tillinghast is a competent folk guitarist and has assembled a solid group of Upstate talents to Psychopossum Studios in Easley. Former Blue Tattoo partner Jennifer Goree adds her lovely harmonies on three songs, and the flute of Julia Sisk (she appears with Tillinghast in performance) does much to enhance the air and flight matter of the songs. And the final cut on the album, the title song, ends with an interesting instrumental overture.
Still, don’t take this album to your next disco party. If you’re in a dancing mood and want to get funky, try something else. Tillinghast’s stated influences are singer-poets. Buy this album when you are ready to truly listen, and think, and feel. Listen to the wind and rain in the voice. Poetry is what you will hear.
Dave Horner - Creative Loafing Magazine SC

In the music world today it is hard to find artists whose lyrics and music actually mean something. Richard Tillinghast is one of those musicians. His songs come from experience. They contain lots of acoustic guitar and compliment his lyrics wonderfully. The listener can tell he is not simply putting down words on paper; he is speaking from the heart.

Elliot Southard - Time Out Magazine SC
Homepage photo credit: Jonathan Graca