Folk-rock, singer-songwriter, alt-country, Americana, call it what you like, the art of telling stories through music refuses to die. John Tiller takes influence from Manchester’s rich and diverse musical heritage, incorporating the working-class spirit of his hometown, though not without strong influences across the pond. He looks to his song-writing heroes Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell for their profound ability to pen thought-provoking lyrics and to give equal importance to both story and song. Though these song-writing giants undoubtedly cast a lengthy shadow, it is through their influence that John steps out into the light and sets out on a path that is uniquely his own.
In July 2019 John released a cover of the Tom Waits track ‘No One Knows I’m Gone’, which garnered viral momentum on social media. His interpretation of the song prompted commentators to make comparisons to the iconic troubadours of the 60’s & 70’s golden age. Most notably Bruce Springsteen and of course, Waits himself. For fans of heartfelt balladry and raw, honest performance. The connection is an easy one to make.
Tiller is all but surgically attached to his guitar, having lived the lifestyle of a restless wanderer, travelling and playing everywhere from Oslo to Sarajevo, Kiev to Auckland, where there’s an audience, there’s an opportunity to share his music. Fast forward to Autumn 2019, and John has recently completed the finishing touches on his forthcoming EP, Battle Ready. A compendium of tracks that unravel intimate tales of the romantics, the nomads, the fighters and poets. The narrator is often ambiguous, unreliable. Tiller plays with timelines, narrative form and structure. What emerges is a connotative collection of songs, leaning heavily on allegory and metaphor. This music will find a home with anyone thoughtful, anyone who has experienced anxiety or weighty, life changing events. It is for those seeking shelter from the short term, quick-fix nature of modern life. At times political, at times personal and heart-breaking, depending on the listener’s perspective this short but powerful collection of songs will feel poignantly out of time, or perhaps timeless.