Steve Tilston was born in Liverpool and raised in Leicestershire. Tilston was a graphic designer before taking up music in 1971. In the early eighties he ran a folk club with Bert Jansch in New Kings Road, London. 1982's "In For A Penny - In For A Pound" was a rock album, but he soon reverted to quieter music. In 1985 he toured with Ballet Rambert, playing in the on-stage band for 'Sergeant Early's Dream' (and again when the ballet toured England in 2000-2001). It was his skill as a guitarist and mandolin player, not as a dancer, that brought this about.