The Tillers are Mike Oberst, Sean Geil, and Aaron Geil.The Tillers don’t just sing and play their homegrown brand of joyful, driving old-time – they holler, stomp, swagger, and swing, fearlessly throwing themselves into the music and winding up in the hearts of their audiences. The trio hails from Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River from the hills of Kentucky and at the northwestern edge of Appalachian coal country, where much of the band’s traditional style comes from.
“Playing folk music, you have to be just as much a historian as a musician,” says Mike Oberst.And through his family’s past, Mike is deeply connected to the very history documented in many traditional tunes. In the 1940s, his grandfather was forced to sign away his farmland to the Sunshine Coal Company, and like many Americans driven from their land by the growth of coal companies, never received most of the money he was promised. It’s a story straight out of the coal ballads and protest songs of the Appalachian valleys, and so when the The Tillers cover union hymns and sing about the lot of poor folks in America, they do so with a deep awareness of that history. They’re also known for putting their music in the service of their convictions, playing benefit shows for homeless communities and collaborating with Ohio Citizen’s Action to combat mountaintop removal.
The Tiller’s latest album and 5th overall entitled Hand On The Plow is the inaugural issuance of original, full-length from the newly-formed Muddy Roots Records, and features 11 tantalizing tracks and an appearance by Legendary Shack Shaker and Dirt Dauber Col. JD Wilkes on harmonica. And lookie here, you can listen to the whole dern thing below. Purchase Hand On The Plow on CD - Download Hand On The Plow - Purchase Hand On The Plow On VinylRecorded straight to tape, Hand on the Plow debuts the band’s new lineup, featuring multi-instrumentalist Mike Oberst with brothers Sean Geil on guitar and Aaron Geil on the upright bass. The winners of 3 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, the trio are audience favorites for their live performances. And Hand to the Plow brings all that verve to the album, from the swampy blues of “I Gotta Move” (featuring harmonica madman Col. J.D. Wilkes of the Legendary Shack Shakers), to the joyous fiddle licks of “Treehouse,” to the ode to the band’s Cincinnati stomping grounds in “Old Westside.”
In March they announced that original bass player Jason Soudrette has been battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) through extensive chemotherapy treatments with a bone marrow transplant to follow. His stay may be long and the bills will mount so that’s where we all come in to help and show our support, they re-release thier debut album, Ludlow Street Rag available on CDBaby with previously unreleased tracks from the bands humble beginnings. The CD will be decked out with new (old) photos and other fun stuff from the era in which Jason was our bass thumper. All funds raised from ticket sales and cd sales at the show will go to Jason’s cause.