Tiller’s Folly started out as a Celtic group, working with Irish dancers, but their sound has evolved towards folk, ultimately creating a diverse and unique sound.
The current lineup, consisting of guitarist and primary songwriter Bruce Coughlan, bassist Laurence Knight and fiddler and mandolinist Nolan Murray, has been together since 2001, but Knight and Coughlan founded Tiller’s Folly a few years prior, with their first release coming in 1997.
“We’ve played together for such a long time, we’re so tight and that’s what people say about us,” Knight said.
Knight, whose first love is rhythm and blues music, had to transition into the Celtic/folk scene once Tiller’s Folly was founded.
“I found Celtic music to be very unusual and it took me a while to be comfortable with that. You just jump into the pool and you listen to a bunch of stuff and you find your favourite stuff,” Knight said.
Years later, the band’s sound continues to evolve and improve, a product of the combination of experience and maturity.
“We continue to grow and improve and work on different things…we play stuff with a lot more depth and a lot more maturity than we would have 20 years ago,” Knight said.
Their latest release, Stirring up Ghosts, took Tiller’s Folly back to its Celtic roots and features a collection of historically-based tunes.
“Celtic music has a tradition for bringing the history and keeping the history of the region current. (Coughlan) has always been writing songs of characters and events that have appeal to him,” Knight said.
One of their latest songs, “Old Hank”, laments the death of traditional country music and discusses how legend and country music pioneer Hank Williams must feel about what’s happened to the genre.
While Coughlan is the primary songwriter, Knight and Murray contribute once Coughlan brings an idea to the table. Coughlan’s most recent song, Pioneer Days, was brought to the group right before a show.
“We rehearsed it for half an hour and then played it at a concert,” Knight recalled.
“As long as Bruce remembers the words, then I can keep up.”
Tiller’s Folly will headline the June 28 Summer Kicks show in Spirit Square at 7 p.m.