Leave behind the fast-paced, busy today, and travel to a time when people played music on their back porches for the simple love of music, and family and friends entertained each other through sing-alongs. Since 2007, the Tillers have been doing just that. Beginning on Ludlow Street in Clifton, this Cincinnati native trio, Mike Oberst, Sean Geil, and Aaron Geil, have laid their seeds and cultivated fans with their clawhammer banjo, percussive guitar, sawing fiddle, tantalizing harmonica, and a quaking, wooden bass thumping old time music. Influenced between the shore of the Ohio River and the hills of Kentucky, their songs tell stories of the rivers and railroads of the Appalachian Mountains, showing the fruitation of Woody Guthrie, their grandparents’ treasures, and their initial love of punk rock, which gives them a distinctive sound. Their hard and fast percussion strum and foot-stomping fashion and graceful melody makes their rowdy, traditional, folk tunes, showcasing a range of talent: traditional folk, bluegrass, jazz, punk rock. After instantly winning over Cincinnatians, The Tillers have toured all over the U.S., U.K., and Ireland, won CityBeat’s Cincinnati Entertainment Award 4 times for best Fold and Americana. Comparable to The Avett Brothers, Hackensaw Boys, and Bob Dylan, The Tillers have released five successful albums, beginning with their debut album, Ludlow Street Rag, featuring the relatable There Is A Road (Route 50) to their latest, released in 2013, Hand On The Plow, featuring Shanty Boat, The Road Neverending, and I Gotta Move, all complete with stomping, clapping, singing, and belting energy as they tell their stories of another time in history.
The Tillers take you away from the modern world, down a warm and relaxing summer drive through country roads, resurrecting songs of America’s past, touching on timeless and historic themes. They soiled the land through belting, rejoicing, and harmonizing personal losses, breaking your heart with their pained voices in each melody. Harvesting an atmosphere that stirs emotion and bridges the gap between the past and present, their music is seeded with the differing vocal styles, harmonies, tempos, and multi-instrumentalists, with a bass that not only lays a solid foundation, but morphs into the sounds of jugs from long ago. Raw and cutting, hard and heavy, uplifting and emotionally stirring, the Tillers evoke snippets of real life, with no apparent beginning and no real ending, songs of remnants of life experiences. From their beginnings, timeless songs such as There Is A Road (Route 50), the “road outside my door,” showcasing the soulful harmonica, connects the east and west coasts of our nation, running through the heart of Cincinnati. More recently, one song that brings me back to my country roots, The Road Neverending tells a more solemn story of comradely and traveling, " For every town I am bound, there’s nothing I’d rather do….no…to write a song with you to guide us through the roads abendin’,” while Old Westside is a song every Cincinnatian can tap their toes to, paints the experience of our beloved city, “When our run is through I know where I’ll reside….with the ladies and the gents on the old Westside.” If you are ready to leave the city lights and stress behind, time travel with The Tillers and join them in a ho-down and sing-along on the porch at the Amphitheater Stage at Buckle Up Music Festival on Saturday July 19th at 8p, awakening the soul, capturing you in another time and world.