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The Lilac Time

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Following a brief solo career under both his own name and the moniker Tin Tin, Stephen Duffy put together the Lilac Time, which traded in his former synth pop excursions for pastoral, folky English pop strongly recalling Skylarking-era XTC. Joined by Mickey Harris, Nick Duffy, and Michael Giri, Duffy crafted several eclectic albums making use of traditional instruments, beginning with a self-titled debut in 1988. Released in 1989, Paradise Circus offered a bit of country & western influence, which was largely abandoned on 1990's & Love for All, partially produced by XTC's Andy Partridge. Issued in 1991, Astronauts began to return to the sound of Duffy's earlier solo career, so it was no surprise when the band broke up and Duffy resumed work as a solo artist. He re-formed the group in 1999 to release Looking for a Day in the Night, this time with brother Nick, Claire Worrall, and Melvin Duffy (no relation). Lilac6 followed in 2001, the same year Stephen Duffy released Compendium: The Fontana Trinity, a collection of select songs from the first three Lilac Time albums along with B-sides from the same period. The melancholic Keep Going arrived in 2003 under the name Stephen Duffy & the Lilac Time. For the next few years, the band took a break while Duffy collaborated and toured with English pop superstar Robbie Williams; they then returned with Runout Groove in 2007. The following year, Duffy and Worrall married. In 2009, a documentary, Memory & Desire: 30 Years in the Wilderness with Stephen Duffy & the Lilac Time, made the film festival circuit, and a 36-track collection of the same name consisting of solo and Lilac Time material was issued. After another brief hiatus, Worrall and the Duffy brothers began working on new material in 2013. With Melvin Duffy contributing pedal steel, the resulting love-themed and accurately titled No Sad Songs was released in the spring of 2015, followed quickly by a limited-edition vinyl EP, Prussian Blue, featuring a remix of the No Sad Songs tune plus three live recordings of earlier songs. ~ Steve Huey & Marcy Donelson

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1987 in Cornwall, England

Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s, '10s


Influenced by this Artist