Thea Gilmore On Unknown Sundays 2024


My favorite Gilmore Girl (no not that silly, fast talking, clever over-the-top bantering show where the dialogue was so beyond reality’s scope), it’s this wonderful, catchy folk-rocker, British Neil Young-ish singer songwriter that’s been in the business for nearly thirty years.  Thea Gilmore on Unknown Sundays 2024, might just be one of my favorite female artists from across the pond.  Is it the songwriting cleverness, punchy, jabby lyrics, the way she weaves in and out of genres of rock, folk, alternative, and punky-pop, or is it the ability to make a song her own when she’s bending Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Gin Blossoms, or even The Buggles (name that tune)?  What I think it truly is, is the fact that her voice carries a sincerity in the delivery, it hangs beautifully when it needs to, if falls off when required, and it finds connection in just about every tone and tune no matter the genre.  She can also slip from playful, to memorable, from lighthearted to sombre and dark, without losing a hint of flow within the recording(s).  I feel she is an artists in the music multiverse because she loves it, and she loves being her, making the music she wants, and leaving the impression she chooses through the stories and experiences she makes, shares, or retells.  That’s success, if you ask me!

My introduction to Thea Gilmore, did not come from a gamble in the used bin.  I know you’re shocked.  This one I owe to NPR discussing their enjoyment of her fourth album, Avalanche, which caught the attention of a friend of mine who was working with me at the time in restaurant equipment and supply sales.  He asked if I had heard of her, as he had just heard about her on his radio.  I obviously had not, and that intrigued me (as he was rather smitten with her, and I didn’t consider him a new recording artist kind-of-lover).  So, without even listening to the show, I went on the recommendation and description from my friend.  Thankfully, Record Theatre was not afraid of the independent label, and they were usually up-on-it, when it came to the music gaining popularity and attention, so it was there!  After just a couple of listens, I definitely would have agreed with The Independent’s comment as her establishing herself as a “wordsmith of her generation.”  But, it is one thing to be a wordsmith, but a completely different thing to actually make it work and deliver it with the conviction that goes beyond the use of words.  Ms. Gilmore did this and then some, and with not much production trickery.  Using just her guise, her instruments of choice guitar, piano, xylophone (I believe) and voice, and the talents of Nigel Stonier (producer and instrumentalist with whom she has had a musical bond with for just about as long as her career, and up until their divorce in 2021, her husband), she definitely made one of the best records of that year, and in the female range — maybe the best (Beyonce, Madonna, Evanescence, Liz Phair, Dido were all in that year with new albums).

Categorizing her style and vocal, is like a tale of growth and movement toward expansion.  Obviously, in the earlier days, her youth she had a grogorious pension for alternative lyrics, sparse, stripped arrangements that were well produced, dynamically hanging on her every word and snappy delivery (that wordsmith at work).  Youth come to maturity, expansion of her palette in instruments as well as songwriting development.  For me it seemed to be a growth in beauty instead of angst, but still no losing that original word play.  Her topical pursuits, the changing environment around her, and the ways — and not so ways — of the world certainly had their impression, hand and mindset into all of this.  And, I’m sure personal life, children and career are the catalyst and vice of which the rest has bestowed.

Her latest release, Thea Gilmore, while reaching in for loops and ambient-like music structures, still harkens to the artist she remains.  The self title this late in the game is certainly a marking of rebirth and rediscovery.  No jumping off the deep end, though.  She has an angst, but it’s smart, hopeful, harkening to reality over harshness.  The lyrics, whether delivered in harmonic speech, brit-punk, spiritual vocal, or whispered temperance, the music entrances and succumbs to her melodic signature, driving the lyrics to you (from her meaning to yours).  There’s not a solitary record that doesn’t manufacture this in her entire catalog.  Even her covering of Bob Dylan’s entire record, John Wesley Harding, takes on the her hymnal (whom it is apparent to us, she cherishes).  She also was commissioned to complete the final works of Sandy Denny (an important and influential English, female folk artist).  Now, while I did not know Sandy Denny at the time, the rabbit hole that Thea Gilmore has brought me to has been extremely rewarding, and that is the catalog worthiness, and why she is on our Unknown Sundays 2024.  I certainly would love to have a Catalog Review Show — with her as my panelist!  That would be awesome (having the panelist be the artist on the Catalog Review Show)!  But, what I truly encourage you to do is — get into her catalog!  We’re doing Melissa Etheridge this week with 15 albums (Tuesday, March 19th), and you known what?  Ms. Gilmore is probably one of the only artists that might be able to be in that same female singer-songwriter rock category with her in longevity and catalog.  It is extensive, extremely interesting in all kinds of sounds and genres.  And, maybe by that time (I’m certainly not expecting her to give this Up State New York music listener her valued time based on a solitary article) — you might be able to be a panelists with me, reviewing the catalog and putting them in the order of your favorites!?  There’s going to be a demand for it!  I know you’re all out there!  Yes, I’m counting on you across the pond!  Reach out, as she deserves the attention from us neglectful single consumptive Americans.  ‘Are You Ready?’  You should be, as she should have been as popular as Sarah McLachlan, once you hear her (I might have oversold that a bit).  Nah!  I’m sticking to that statement!  ‘Let It Be Known’ (all of this will make sense if you listen to this catalog) I say!

Thea Gilmore Albums In My Collection:

She has another release as the band, Afterlight – Afterlight (2021), which is an interesting poetically delivered album (in some cases) that still features her tempered sombre, textured vocal stylings, falling in the timeline of the album, The Emancipation of Eva Grey.  There are also EP(s) and rarities which bear the familiar singles but they have wonderful covers as additions and B-Sides, so be sure to explore all of those as well, and of course, check her out all over the web and YouTube.

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