Oxfordshire born Thea Gilmore has been writing poetry and music since the tender age of 15 years old, starting as a coping mechanism for her to deal with the divorce of her parents, her talents were clear and she released her debut album ‘Burning Dorothy’ at the age of 18. Her interest in music became obvious when she feel in love with her fathers vinyl collection and she listened to hours of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and The Beatles. Over the past few years she has released seven albums and has faced many personal trials along the way.
Thea has now emerged with her most intimate and deeply personal record following previous episodes of depression, parting company with her long standing manager Sara Austin and being dropped by Sanctuary records following just one album release. However on a happier note she gave birth to her first son Egan. 'Liejacker' was the result of this emotional rollercoaster and see's her at her most direct, stating that “where in the past I’ve probably been guilty of hiding a little bit, falling back on an image or a metaphor - this time I was trying to get to the bone, to just tell it like it is. The genesis of this record was very different from my previous albums. It’s the first album that I’ve really felt a deep burn to make.”
Opening track on the album comes in the form of new single ‘Old Soul’, a beautiful duet with Dave McCabe, otherwise known as the heart and soul of The Zutons. Thea and Dave have an unique connection in this song and the harmonies are as gentle as endearing, showing a different style of vocal arranging from Dave, unearthing gentle tones in comparison to his usual blues and jazz vocals. Thea's lyrics were written in her final week of pregnancy and see's her pondering who and what she's looking for in life. ".. cause when the days grow old/and the nights get cold/i'll need a young heart/but an old soul/where am I gonna go..." ‘Black Letter’ encourages Thea's vocals to open up with a track that wouldn't sound out of place on the latest KT Tunstall album, bringing energetic guitars which are topped with sensual strings. Thea's husband and musical partner Nigel Stonier plays a variety of acoustic instruments including guitar, dulcimer, mandolin, melodica and ukulele on the record while Thea herself features more prominently than ever before as an instrumentalist on the record and her guitar playing evolves with every track that you here on 'Liejacker'.
‘Dance in New York’ is quiet possibly the most captivating track on the album, with gorgeous harmonies supplied by critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Erin McKeown and luscious cello drawing you closer, even before you are aware of the emotional and heart felt lyrics. "..I wanna run so far from here/till the streets of Manhattan tear this waster apart/no i don't wanna talk/i wanna dance in New York...". Songs such as Rosie and Slow Journey are stripped back to basics songs that show Thea's vocals at there most natural which are tender and sound sugar coated. ‘The Lower Road’ is a narrative duet between Thea and her idol, Joan Baez, telling there storys of picking themselves up and moving on following times of hardship and distress. Thea's gentle vocals compliment Joan Baez gruff lower tones allowing them to perfectly present the sad melody with warmth and depth. The instrument arrangement see's Stonier's contribution to the musical partnership shine bright and includes additional fiddles from Waterboy's Steve Wickham, who is a long standing friend of Thea's. Closing track is Thea's hugely popular contribution to the ‘Liverpool No. Ones’ record. A cover of the Dead Or Alive hit ‘You Spin Me Round’, which ends the record on an upbeat tempo and all round sing along track.
Thea's has previously been hailed a brilliant wordsmith and 'Liejacker 'truly allows her to live up to her reputation. The album came from her darkest moments and allowed her to come out aboundently and showing her full of life, courage and carisma. With at times a mostly acoustic vibe, it is lovely to feel the warmth of the musical talents of Nigel Stonier through ukuleles and cellos which brings so much life to Thea's vocals. 'Liejacker' is a record that show's Thea Gilmore as an artist who is truly coming of age.