For Cincinnati, Ohio’s The Tillers, the small town of Todd has become a special place.
“Todd is a place that holds a special spot in our hearts,” said Mike Oberst, the lead vocalist for the band.
In 2010 and 2011, the band arrived in town to open for Doc Watson, an Grammy winning singer-songwriter from the nearby town of Deep Gap.
“We had been listening to Doc Watson for years before that,” Oberst said. “He is one of our biggest influences as far as our music goes. When we realized we were getting this chance to open for him, we were ecstatic to say the least.”
Oberst said they were learning new songs before they even took the small stage in the middle of town. Originally, they thought the show was going to have thousands of people and were surprised at how local it was.
“(Todd) seems like a very close-knit community of family and friends, so that made our experience even more special,” he said.
Now the group returns to town to play at Todd Mercantile on Friday, Sept. 20. This time the band has a new album under its belt and is preparing to start its first international tour in the United Kingdom and Ireland in November.
The new album, “Hand on the Plow,” was released in July. Oberst said the production process matured the band, not only in the studio but in its production.
“We learned not to be so headstrong in the studio and allow a song be free,” he said. “A song with the right type of energy is more important than a song where you hit every note perfect.”
Having been together for six years, this is the first of their albums that only have original songs. Oberst said the band wanted the entire album to be solely their material.
Tickets for the show are $10 and the Tillers will take the stage at 7 p.m.