Thea Gilmore, Nigel Stonier: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool


thea gilmore 2 live epstein
Fifteen albums into her career, Thea Gilmore brings her considerable songbook to Liverpool, Getintothis’ Alan O’Hare reflects on a songwriter at the very peak of her game.

Can an artist still be described as a best kept secret seventeen years and fifteen albums into a career? It just doesn’t matter if said artist is Thea Gilmore.
Sure, we’d guess the razor sharp songwriter would like to shift a few more units. But, in disposable times, the fact that an indispensable talent like Gilmore can exist and creatively thrive in an industry so fouled and confused is a reason to believe.
Gilmore is great. Red hot lyrics and warm melodies are her stock in trade and that voice is as elemental as the glacial lake it puts you in mind of. Latest album, Regardless, is a glossy affair: all polished production and soaring strings.
But, stripped back live at The Epstein Theatre to acoustic guitars, piano, cello and violin, songs like Love Came Looking For Me and This Road sound vital.
thea gilmore live epstein
Thea Gilmore performing live at The Epstein Theatre
Her vocal delivery puts you in mind of Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan – vowels are spat out, as devastating couplets come at lightning pace. The rub? Her singing is from a different planet to the old men. The songs? They’re not far away either… and that tells you everything you need to know.
We’re talking about an historic lineage and it’s a tradition Gilmore is not just standing on the shoulders of – with ringing endorsements from Bruce Springsteen and Joan Baez, the signs are that one day she will take her place at the top table.
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Thea Gilmore performing live at The Epstein Theatre
Old Soul, the song she recorded in Liverpool with producer Mike Cave and The ZutonsDave McCabe (on duet duty) for 2008’s excellent Liejacker, is a tune that is from that top table. And the version of it that reverberates around the hushed and ethereal atmosphere of the Sunday evening Epstein is astounding. Honestly, let this song into your life and buy it now.
Covering The BeatlesAll You Need Is Love (dedicated to the 96) and David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World – well, by the way – is a giveaway to the thing that drives her talent, ambition and dedication: she’s fearless.
And, in the times recorded and live music exist in today, that’s something to be.
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Thea Gilmore performing live at The Epstein Theatre
Gilmore’s partner and producer, Nigel Stonier, opened the evening with a set of troubadour tales. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a story for every song, Stonier’s cosy singing voice brought I Am Kloot’s John Bramwell to mind – but with tunes of gentler meat and potatoes.
The melodic and wry What Did I Do Right was a particular highlight, but Stonier’s contribution to the finer details of Gilmore’s set was his finest offering of the evening – as a musician and producer with an eye for the details.
nigel stonier live epstein
Nigel Stonier performing live at The Epstein Theatre
Pictures by Getintothis‘ Simon Lewis
Further reading on Getintothis:
Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté: St. Georges Hall, Liverpool
John Bramwell: The Kazimier, Liverpool
Dan Croll, Dave McCabe and Silent Sleep set for Brazil World Cup 2014 Expo
The Viper Kings feat Dave McCabe and James Skelly, The Sundowners, Edgar Jones: District, Liverpool
Getintothis’ albums of 2014 so far: Half term report from Liverpool’s writers on the block.
Liverpool Music Week 2014: Caribou, Mogwai, Wild Beasts headline city spectacular
Liverpool bands line up for Brazil World Cup 2014.
Forest Swords: From Norse sacrifices to Smooth FM and making the follow up to Engravings.
Twilight Sad to play cult debut album in full in Liverpool.
LIMF 2014: By The Sea, Baltic Fleet & more set for Getintothis & Bido Lito! stage in Sefton Park.
LightNight Liverpool 2014: Cathedral, Black-E, FACT, St Luke’s Churchpicture gallery.