Scarlet Starlings

An alternative folk band of cousins and significant others

Singing with Willy Mason…


Sara-Mae Tuson (left), Willy Mason (middle), Barbara Bartz (right)


On a divine summer’s evening last Thursday, Talitha and Sara-Mae got to sing back up for the great Willy Mason. You know when everything seems made out of magic? From the huge and shady fig tree at the bottom of Zoe’s garden, to the sweet little black cat sleeping on one of the blankets that cover the grass?

Danny Green of Laish organised the relaxed shindig, something he’s done a few times before with Willy, and he and the girls also played a few of Danny’s (spectacular) new songs.

Jamie Doe of The Magic Lanterns also played some of his sparkly, compelling songs. To cap it off, Zoe recited some of her poems. Her self-contained dynamism and wry humour made her performance really special. Also, her recipe for frozen chocolate-covered ‘banana cocks’ earned her the title of ‘Best Host 2017’.

We were all drunk on the gorgeousness of the moment, the company, the food and yes, the copious amounts of wine.

It was dark by the time Willy went up to play, and the girls were nervously whispering behind him, scared to muck up the hastily rehearsed harmonies they’d learnt for Face That Glows, a swooney new song, as well as If It’s the End, Talk Me Down and Restless Fugitive. Barbara Bartz, the gorgeous and talented violinist for The Quivering Poets (amongst other bands) had been pulled in by Sara-Mae to improvise a bit of blue-grass stylings, which she did.

We egged Willy on to singing loads of his incredible songs, some new, some old (Waiter at the Station, written by his mother, and one of Sara-Mae’s favourites). We felt that we’d been somehow given this incredible luxury. What an utter legend the man is.

Wish you all could have been there,


The Starlings



Working on a new album!


You may be wondering where the hell we’ve been? Wandering the streets of London, a faraway look in our eyes, the stains of old spag bol dinners marking our shirts?

Well, yes.

But also, we’ve been beavering away at a *brand new album*. Obviously it’s hard for you to be as excited as us about this because you haven’t heard the cracking tunes we’re cooking up but…mmm this is going to be good. With lyrics about lonely millionaires, having stones for eyes and one song called Mouths are Moths, we think there is something for everyone. From er…lonely millionaires to mouthy moths.

We’ve just had the incredibly talented Mike Siddall, violinist with double Ivor Novello nominated folk-pop collective The Leisure Society, laying down some sick violin for us as well. It was a bit like someone giving you a Lamborghini and a long stretch of road…

Concocting an album is one of the best parts of making music and we are having




To hear more about our progress, follow us on Twitter or listen to our early tunes here.

Leonard Cohen Cover – ‘Leaving The Table’


What with all the misery of the Trump fiasco and then the rotten cherry on top of the great LC dying, we thought this was a fitting song to suit the mood of anyone who’s had it with 2016. Off his final album You Want It Darker (2016), a gorgeous, somber work.

It’s very rough, as Sara-Mae could barely sing it without tearing up, but we hope it will make you feel better.

Check it out on our Soundcloud page.

Great gig!

We had such fun last night. The other act, Desert Plains, Jake Morrell and of course Fred Abbott blew us away. We had a blast….

Thanks to David and the team at The Islington, and most of all, all you sweeties who came to see us.

Love you lots!

The starlings

2 more sleeps until our gig supporting Fred Abbott of Noah and the Whale…

Despite the fact that we won’t have our darling Talitha singing and playing with us, we’re excited about seeing all your lovely faces at the gig this Thursday. There’s still time to get your name on the guest list, for cheaper tix, so get in touch ( if you want ’em.

Here is a collection of our little gig promos in the meantime, for your enjoyment:

IMG_5015 copy

gig promo pic 28 july

gig promo pic 28 july 2

All of which is to say…did you know we have a gig on Thursday??

The Islington, 1 Tolpuddle Street, London, N1 0XT, 8pm.


See you there!

xx the starlings

Our Willy Mason cover on the WCA covers album!

we come alive pic

We’re delighted to have been a part of the phenomenal We Come Alive Covers Project and today, as a special gifty/teaser for our gig tonight, you can listen to us (hopefully not murdering) the brilliant ‘Talk Me Down’ by Willy Mason.

Danny Green from Laish created the WCACP and there’s a host of truly fabulous bands taking part. Some of our very favourite, in fact, from This Is The Kit to Ezra Furman, so we feel very honoured to be included. And it’s all freeeeeee!

Yep. You heard us. Gratis. Nada. Nenio.

According to Danny, “I drew up a list of musical friends and heroes and asked each one to submit a cover song chosen by someone else on that list. I love hearing good covers, it is such an interesting process seeing how people approach performing and recording someone else’s material. I also wanted be part of bringing together the musical community that surrounds and inspires me through running We Come Alive shows in London.

Initially around 20 songwriters and bands agreed to participate. As I write this, 13 tracks have been recorded and I absolutely love them! The collection is an incredibly enjoyable, surprising, varied set of songs and I would like to begin sharing them in instalments as they are worthy of taking time to savour. More tracks are due to appear soon, including recordings by Willy Mason, David Thomas Broughton and This is The Kit.”

A special thank you to alumni Starling Simon Tuson for his help and Dave for adding some lovely keys in about two hours….

If you want to catch us in action we’re playing tonight at Hootananny Brixton.

Listen and share if you love us.

Danny Green of LAISH on drums – April 13!

We can’t contain our excitement because…er…drumroll please: Danny Green will be wielding sticks for us at the Hootenanny on April 13.

For those of you who don’t know, LAISH is Danny’s amazing band – he’s just made £6,869  with an indigogo campaign raising money for his new album. Check out a beautiful video of ‘Learning to love the bomb‘ – one of the new songs from the album to see what he’s been spending it on…

What with it being practically Sara-Mae’s birthday as well, it’s a great time to come and celebrate Spring with us. Plus there are no less than three cracking new songs!

Of course, the sheer majesty of it can’t be captured by mere words. Here’s a lovely picture of what we think Danny will look like drumming for us:

Danny G drums

New songs by part-time Starling and full-time legend, Simon Tuson

Although we have honourary non-family member Starlings (the gorgeous Amy and Khalid on drums and bass respectively), we just want to take a moment to honour and respect the genius of shadow Starling Simon Tuson. Brother to Sara-Mae and cousin to Talitha, Simon has the fiery blood-juice of the band running through his veins, and occasionally joins us on stage.

Recently, he and some of the other Starlings got together to perform some co-written and more personal stuff of his and the results were delicious. So good, in fact, that they brought tears to our eyes and reduced us all to pools of gloopy marshmallow. Simon, you rule, buddy.

There were four more where this came from but for now take a lil’ listen to this:

She’s Mine


Clarence Park Festival here we come!

Starlings are off on a road trip up north to play at the wonderful Clarence Park Festival in Wakefield. With plenty of Starlings family members living nearby we’re hoping to have a few friendly faces in the crowd beaming back at us.

On top of that the line up includes some great local acts (did we mention it’s totally FREE?). Here’s hoping this yucky weather reverts back to the lovely sunshine we’ve been enjoying.

Playing alongside us are many wonderful bands, this is our top pick of people to look out for:

Described as “One of Manchester’s finest imports” by XFM, go and see Turrentine Jones‘s brand of retro rock with a slick beat that catches you unaware.

Also, we’ve been listening to the marvellous Black Casino and The Ghost whose gorgeous female vocals from Elisa Zoot float above a sea of dreamy electro.

Tall Poppies – This sexy duo have lovely breathy vocals with a slight rockabilly twist.

Pink Diamond Revue – Atmospheric electro wonderment…

Come along and see if you agree with us. We’re on at 3:20pm so get there and grab a beer.

Thanks very much to the Wakefield Music Collective who are a dedicated bunch of volunteers who put all this together our of sheer love.

Address: Clarence Park, Denby Dale Road, Wakefield, WF2 8DH

You bring the unicorn, we’ll bring the rainbows!!


The Starlings


Summer’s here and the time is right

First up, we are extremely excited to be headlining at the amazing New Cross Inn. Famed for punchy, exciting gigs, we’re sharpening our talons and beaks and getting ready to ‘braaaaang it’. We’re on quite late, but as it’s a Friday, come let your hair down. To all our South of the river friends…finally, this gig is just for you. 🙂

Friday 10th July 2015 New Cross Inn – 323 New Cross Road, London, SE14 6AS

We’ll be joined by a fabulous bunch of people including:

Ali Warren has played in numerous places and his gorgeous lilting tunes and sweet vocal will grab you and not let go. See him playing at Sofar Sounds here.

Also playing will be Blueprints of the Heart (, Richard Spence
( and Hannah Jarrett-Scott ( See the Facebook link here.


Then, run by the Wakefield Music Collective, the Clarence Park fest is the longest running, community-supported FREE Music Festival in Yorkshire. We’re so excited to get to play in the wonderful city (and the fact that one of our sets of parents lives there is just an added bonus). More updates on the fab other acts to follow…

Saturday 25 July @ 3:20pm Clarence Park Festival – Clarence Park Bandstand, Denby Dale Road, Wakefield

So come catch us as we fall from our comfy nests,


The Starlings

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