Tilly Moses – Alight and Adrift

Album Review | GingerDog Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

This debut album by Tilly Moses, a young Suffolk-born, now York-based singer-songwriter/mandolin player, comes as a result of a lengthy teenage apprenticeship spent writing, performing, collaborating and recording in preparation for this moment. Tilly’s penchant for theatrical hats and colourful garlands, her frequent exposure at festivals up and down the country and her seemingly beguiling nature have prepared her well for the release of these dozen songs, all of which show a marked maturity since we first heard some of them on stage or via YouTube videos over the last few years. If her Painted Faces EP, recorded in her mid-teens, effectively got the ball rolling on her burgeoning recording career, then Alight and Adrift is poised to launch that career with more determination. Tilly’s ethereal voice on such songs as “Definitions”, “Paper Conflicts” and “Flatlands” demonstrates strength and fragility in equal measure, whilst Harbour shows a mature approach to collaboration as she duets with the BBC Folk Award winner Sam Kelly. Accompanying herself on harmonium and shruti box, as well as her faithful soulmate, the mandolin, the song arrangements have a gentleness that focuses predominantly on her voice, with some empathetic playing from BBC Jazz Award Winner and Mercury Prize nominee Kit Downes, singer-songwriter Samuel McKie, recorder maestro Finn Collinson and Mawkin fiddler James Delarre. All twelve songs are Tilly Moses originals apart from the traditional “Hares on the Mountain”, which is treated to a strong and determined arrangement here, yet you feel you have heard some of them before, such as “Fear With Fire”, delivered with military precision, which I feel I’ve been listening to for years. Alight and Adrift is a seriously good debut for a young performer who I’m sure you’ll hear more about very soon.