Friday, 10 May 2013

THEA GILMORE

Live Review

Town Hall, Birmingham


Thea Gilmore - back on tour

The prolific singer songwriter Thea Gilmore is back on the circuit after taking an enforced time out for the birth of her second son and she came back in style at the Town Hall complete with string quartet and grand piano.

The statuesque Gilmore opened with a track from Regardless, her latest and 14th album, This Is How You Find Me which came with a beautiful and full sound from her nine-piece backing group.
Gilmore slowed things down for an old song on acoustic guitar with cello and fiddle backing the slow ballad before moving into Beautiful and Hopeful which had a deeper rockier beat where she even managed to sound a little like Joan Armatrading.
Another track from her album followed, Start As We Mean To Go On, which again had more of rock sound than folk.
With This road, Gilmore started solo - her clear voice filling the hall before the backing of the group and string quartet slowly built up to a much fuller sound.
She then pulled a really interesting one out of the bag - an acoustic version of the old depression anthem Brother Can You Spare A Dime?
Gilmore then kept the folksy feel with an A Capella offering called The Amazing Floating Man about the banking crisis and her powerful and clear voice didn’t even strain to fill the hall.
Her connection with the songs of the legendary Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention fame is well known and she paid tribute to the late songstress with a soft ballad The Pain On My Heart which was backed beautifully with just the quartet and grand piano.
Another track from Regardless, Spit and Shine, followed which had an African sound reminiscent of the music from Paul Simon’s Graceland but it had a toe tapping beat which was followed by the title track of her album Regardless.
Towards the end of the set she moved back to the rockier sound of You’re The Radio, which had a feel of the MOR rock the US produces in such abundance.

CD Review

Regardless 

Thea Gilmore

Thea Gilmore - new album 

If Oxfordshire singer/songwriter Thea Gilmore is looking to move away from her folk persona then she is doing it in fine style with her new album Regardless. If you asked the average Joe in the street which genre to place her 14th album into it would be surprising to hear anyone say folk.

It is very commercial sounding, very rock and strangely enough very retro with certain tracks having a flavour of the 80s –early 90s.
This said even with Gilmore being out of the mainstream for a while she has lost none of her talent for sharp lyrics and catchy beats. Opening with Something To Sing About Gilmore’s rapid fire lyrics keep up a pretty sharp tempo on what is an MOR sounding track which has a slight rock undertone and brings about memories of Belinda Carlisle and Pat Benatar.
The track is followed by a classical-style opening sound of This Is How You Find Me which is one of another of those songs that seems to evoke memories of the 80s and Gilmore’s clear voice is not best showcased here.
Title track of the album is a pretty good ballad with a strong under-beat but again it sounds like something The Corrs recorded in the early 90s when the Irish became the Riverdance people.
One of the more interesting tracks on the album is Spit and Shine which wouldn’t be out of place on Paul Simon’s Graceland, it has the African undertone and Gilmore does what she does best with sharp lyrics and precise singing.
I Will Not Disappoint You is one of several soft ballads along with Punctuation and This Road. I Will Not … is probably as close to a folk song any of the tracks get on the album but it is a pleasant and thoughtful piece beautifully accentuated by the backing of the strings section.
In between there are the heavier beat sounds of Start As You Mean To Go On which has a very American MOR rock feel to it and stands a good chance of being successful across the pond, this also applies to Love Came Looking for me which had more than a little resemblance to several Pat Benatar songs, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Perhaps the most thoughtful of the tracks is Let It Be Known a racier ballad which has the clever lyrics so associated with Gilmore.
The final track My Friend Goodbye is arguably the best track on the album in which you can really get to grips with the quality of Gilmore’s voice. It’s an emotional ballad with just a smidgeon of country in it but her breathy lyrics make it a possible hit with romantics.
Regardless has already been picked up by Radio 2 as it’s album of the week and is destined for big things, Gilmore is a consummate performer with a really rich voice but as a folk album it’s probably not going to be a great hit.
Regardless is out now on the Fullfill label and for more information visit www.theagilmore.net