The brand-new studio debut album Alight & Adrift is available NOW!

The effortless way Tilly passionately tells stories through her music, and the unique and timeless sound of her voice, mean that this debut album is a both melodically charming and evocative at the same time. Full of twists and turns, unexpected eccentricities that push the boundaries of modern day folk music, as well as true-to-tradition elements, it all comes together to produce an authentic, clever and inspiring body of work which can stand up tall in the world of folk, but also cross-over into more mainstream mixes to introduce an entirely new audience to the world of folk music.

There is a depth to her distinct voice as there is to her writing, a tone that reaches beneath the surface. Tilly has set a very firm foundation with this album. With beautiful instrumentation and clever arrangements, a good mix of traditional and self penned work and some prestigious guests, she is certainly making her intentions for a long and prosperous folk career clear with this debut’ - Ange Hardy
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‘There is a depth to her distinct voice as there is to her writing, a tone that reaches beneath the surface.’
- Ange Hardy
‘A rare treat in the contemporary folk scene’
- Stephen Thomas, Folkroom Records
‘Wow. She’s incredible. A tremendously exciting artist, regardless of her age.’
- BBC Introducing
‘To say it’s an assured debut from Tilly Moses would be the understatement of the year. Fantastic debut album. Every track a winner’
- Stephen Foster, BBC Radio Suffolk
Tilly Moses is a mandolin player and singer songwriter from Suffolk, now based in York. She has been performing all over the country since the age of just 13, supporting some of the best-loved folk acts in the UK, and recently released her long awaited debut album Alight & Adrift, to incredible critical acclaim.

Tilly’s carefully crafted songs address subjects as diverse as climate change, gender inequality, apathy, love, and leaving home, and she delivers them with an extraordinarily powerful, passionate vocal style, and a colourful stage presence. ‘
Tilly possesses an uncanny ability to communicate her messages and narratives with total conviction and an immediacy and intellectual as well as emotional depth.’
- FATEA Magazine

The new album, Alight & Adrift, features the talents of many extraordinary musicians, including BBC Folk Award Winner Sam Kelly, Mercury Prize Nominee Kit Downes, and BBC Folk Award nominated band Mawkin’s James Delarre, amongst others. It has been praised by critics and audiences alike and is already a firm favourite in the folk world and beyond.

Following an impressive summer of performances, including playing the main stage at FolkEast festival, performing on stage with the Mekons at Mekonville, and beguiling audiences at Beverley Folk Festival, Stepping Stones Festival, and the Big Comfy Bookshop, Tilly is spending the autumn and winter performing the new album and writing brand-new material with influences from a range of different musical backgrounds, in a mission to expand even further.
Blazingly alight and far from adrift
- Folk Radio UK
David Kidman - FATEA Magazine
‘Tilly Moses is a 19-year-old mandolin player and singer-songwriter, originally from Suffolk but now living in York – all the more surprising, then, that she’s thus far evaded my radar, especially since she’s been writing and performing since the age of 13. She released her debut EP, Painted Faces, a few years back – under the name of Tilly Dalglish; since then, I understand, she’s built a faithful following through her colourful stage presence and a succession of highly-rated appearances supporting the great and the good of the folk world. It’s all been excellent preparation for the eventual release of her first full-length album, Alight And Adrift, on which she’s joined by BBC Award winners Sam Kelly, James Delarre and Kit Downes as well as several other talented musicians (Finn Collinson, Kevin Duncan, Ginny Davis, Samuel McKie, Ellie West and Dave Gatward). It’s a tribute to the artistry and insight of her producer Kevin Duncan that Tilly’s voice and the delicate texture of her mandolin (and very occasional guitar) playing are given space to breathe and remain in a credible perspective within the total sound-picture. And of course, the mandolin is not the usual instrument of choice for the average guitar-toting s/s – so Tilly scores points for her enterprise right from the start.

Having said all that, I don’t want to give the impression that Tilly’s a wilful eccentric whose sole objective is to make an impact and defy s/s convention by showiness and flamboyance. This is far from the truth – as just one listen to this brilliant album will convince you. Tilly’s songs are masterpieces of emotional raw power, a quality that resides in the stripped-back nature of her writing and performing style – and all this despite some imaginative, often quite busy musical settings conjured specially for the album. For Tilly possesses an uncanny ability to communicate her messages and narratives with total conviction and an immediacy and intellectual as well as emotional depth.

Tilly’s debut album pushes the boundaries of folk almost subconsciously, and it’s no exaggeration to say that virtually every track boasts a different sound or arrangement, however distinctive be her vocal delivery and filigree mandolin playing. The opening track, the decidedly empowering and defiant mission-statement of Definitions, starts sparsely, even diffidently, then truly blossoms as the texture opens out with swooning cellos providing a curiously lush repeated figure. Water Man is a simple yet extremely poignant reflection on the idealism of romance, with some delicately judged harmonies from Sam Kelly (his full duet with Tilly on the touching love song Harbour is an album highlight, by the way). The personal battleground of Fear With Fire is stirringly set to a sweet-toned, fulsome Celtic-style backdrop featuring whistle, fiddle, bouzouki and harmonium. The desolation of Lonely Birds is characterised by bleak mandolin wingbeat-ripples, while Flatlands wistfully explores Tilly’s connections with her native fenland landscape. The eerie atmospherics of Ragdoll invoke a sort of cross between Lal Waterson and Rose Kemp, whereas the harmonium-backed Footprints (where Tilly reflects realistically on, and takes strange comfort from, our inevitable impermanence in the scheme of things here on earth) has an almost religious, eastern-hymnal aura. Album closer Whisky is an affectionate waltz-time portrait-cum-memoir of her collaborator Sam McKie. Tucked away in the running order close to the end of the album we find its lone traditional song, Hares On The Mountain, which is given an extraordinary brooding, weird psych-folk treatment replete with imaginative touches and a full-blown electric guitar solo: another disc highlight, although entirely different from the rest of the tracks.

The only song which I feel loses something (a little)in impact is Paper Conflicts, an important song within Tilly’s work which is here given a plain, rather too “grey” setting that, while ably supporting Tilly’s voice, seems (at least by comparison with the rest of the songs) a tad lacking in textural or melodic interest, which thus arguably underplays, even dilutes, the passion of its message.

All the lyrics are given on the superbly presented insert too. A great package that sets a high benchmark for Tilly in what looks like being an illustrious career on the fringes of folk. Her strong will and determination, backed by her serious talent, have clearly paid off on Alight And Adrift.

As a postscript, I’ve just discovered that four of the album’s songs (Paper Conflicts, Definitions, One Of Them and Fear With Fire) are also part of a conceptual set (songs of conflict) that Tilly and Sam McKie performed at last year’s Folk Festival East; this set is available separately through Tilly’s website, in the shape of an intimate, home-recorded “live demo” album (War In Words).’
Ange Hardy
‘There is a depth to her distant voice as there is to her writing, a tone that reaches beneath the surface. Tilly has set a very firm foundation with this album. With beautiful instrumentation and clever arrangements, a good mix of traditional and self-penned work and some prestigious guests, she is certainly making her intention for a long and prosperous folk career clear with this debut.’
Kirsty Merryn
‘Tilly Moses celebrates traditional folk melodies and instrumentation, but her songwriting has an originality and maturity which results in a fresh and invigorating sound. Featuring the talents of many other gifted and respected musicians, her songs are beautifully written and arranged. Already established on the folk scene, her debut album will be a welcome sound for many, and great new discovery for many more. Tilly is a true talent.’
Mike Davies - Folk Radio UK
‘Just nineteen, born in Suffolk and now based in York, mandolinist and singer-songwriter Tilly Moses has been making music since she was thirteen, both supporting and playing with the likes of The Unthanks and the late Dave Swarbrick. Having released (under her given name as Tilly Dalglish) a debut EP back in 2014 and a conflict-themed live demo album with Sam McKie last year, she now returns with
Alight & Adrift, her first album proper.

With the exception of the traditional
Hares On The Mountain, a psych-folk arrangement by herself and Finn Collinson for bodhran, harmonium drone and recorder, all the material is self-penned. She draws on influences that range from The Guillemots and Damien Rice to Lisa Hannigan, Ida Wenhoe and Rachael Sermanni to craft a hypnotic dark pastoral folk web that belies her young years.

Along with Collinson, the album also features McKie on guitar, BBC Folk Award Winner Sam Kelly, Mercury Prize Nominee Kit Downes, Mawkin’s fiddle player James DeLarre, Ellie West providing whistles and Ginny Davis on cello, with songs that variously address mental illness, climate change, and gender politics.

Two numbers are revisited from the
Painted Face EP with new recordings of Footprints, a drone-like number about impermanence leaving behind a legacy on which her pure vocals are accompanied by accordion, fiddle and harmonium, and relationship-themed Lonely Birds with its spare, plucked mandolin and Downes’ piano score.

There are also three studio versions of songs from
War In Words. Recalling Thea Gilmore, the jauntily mid-tempo slightly gypsy rhythms of Paper Conflicts is about how we put short-term profits and gain before the consequences of climate change. While, with fiddle, bouzouki and whistles, Fear With Fire is a Celtic trad-flavoured number about overcoming anxiety and lack of confidence that ends in a lively jig. The third, with some strident bass, whistle and acoustic guitar work on the lengthy atmospheric instrumental intro, One of Them is a heady, rhythmically muscular call to not be one of those who look on in apathy at the poverty, starvation and suffering around them.

It’s a new number that opens the album, the plucked, spare
Definitions a refusal, on behalf of all young women, to be pigeonholed by stereotyping, its line ‘I will always vote for hope’ sounding like something Corbyn might pick up on for the next election. Showcasing her mandolin work, Water Man is a dreamy but barbed song about needing to have a balance of the elements to sustain a relationship (‘He’s a spark, and I’m a flame, and I’ll burn us both down’), Sam Kelly duets on the melodically catchy and rather lovely Harbour, another song about sharing a life together, while, predominantly mandolin with cello arriving in the final stretch, Flatlands is basically a love letter to the fens and heaths of her childhood home.

The album enters its last lap with
Ragdoll, all rippling guitar pattern and suitably ghostly atmospherics set to mental health themed lyrics about feeling like you’re coming apart at the seams, and ends with a shot of Whisky, an acoustic waltz time memoir of first meeting her collaborator and partner McKie that interpolates Collinson’s Bits and Pieces whistles and fiddle waltz.

With a solid reputation on the folk festival circuit and ringingly endorsed by Ange Hardy, blazingly alight and far from adrift, this should firmly plant her feet on the ladder to the genres upper rungs.’
Allan Wilkinson - Northern Sky Magazine
‘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.’

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