Bill, Other Val and I braved the cold to see Martha Tilston (Steve Tilston's daughter) at Farnham Maltings. We thought Steve Winchester would be supporting, but he was unavailable, so we were treated to a set by Andy Steadman of Sequoia, more of a Coldplay-like indie band than a folk band. However Andy's acoustic set fitted in fine with the evening, and his thoughtful songs with their catchy melodies were very well received. Darren needn't have worried about ticket sales, the little venue was crowded and more chairs had to be fetched!
When Martha came on stage I could see that she'd changed, become more confident and serious. Tim Cotterill (ex Legacy) also joined her, playing mandolin and fiddle, with the occasional accompaniment of Luke Parker on guitar.
Her new material seemed far more mature and rounded, perhaps travelling to Africa and India has helped her to grow.
She started her set with 'Cycles' - a song about doomed relationships that follow a very familiar pattern, an experience I'm sure many people can relate to. Somewhat different from the rose-tinted romanticism of her 'Mouse Tales' days. THere were still many romantic songs in her set, including 'Queen Jane' about an uncharacteristically affectionate Henry VIII mourning his wife who died in childbirth, and 'Seagulls' - a song about falling in love in Brighton. Her trademark quirkiness was evident (I'm glad to say!) with an adaption of the traditional song 'A Blacksmith Courted Me' to tell the story of an ex about to get married as 'A Surfer Courted Me' and also 'Red Riding Hood' where the wild girl from the wood tames the Wolf with the power of her love, ably assisted by all the angels in Heaven. 'Willy of Winsbury' was a traditional song that I'd remembered from previous gigs, Martha's version is about a girl who gets pregnant, her father is at first angry but when he meets her boyfriend Willy he quite fancies him himself!
A very enjoyable and uplifting set, made all the better for the occasional sad song in amongst the romance.