Singer/songwriter Thea Gilmore was born to Irish parents in 1979. While coming of age in North Aston, Oxfordshire in England, she ignored the new wave reign of the '80s, and instead sought out her parents' Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell albums. Later, she found comfort in the work of Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, and the Replacements, absorbing the intelligence behind each artist's work. Gilmore began writing poetry and short stories to amuse herself amidst her conventional surroundings, but she needed something more tangible. She left home at age 16 to work in a recording studio. Gilmore also founded her own Shameless Records and released her debut album, Burning Dorothy, in 1998. The Lipstick Conspiracies and the As If EP followed two years later, and Gilmore began gaining critical praise.
In the new millennium, Gilmore inked a deal with Compass in the U.S. and finally graced American shores with the 2002 release of Rules for Jokers. Gilmore's third album, 2003's Avalanche, was a daring effort for her, and the single "Juliet" earned her her first Top 40 hit in the U.K. A year later, Gilmore released a collection of cover songs entitled Loft Music. A self-released effort, it featured her renditions of songs by the Buzzcocks, Paul Westerberg, Jimmy Cliff, and the Ramones. The compilation Songs from the Gutter (2005) gathered career-spanning cuts not previously available, as well as hidden treasures from Gilmore's catalog of unreleased material. In August 2006, she issued the emotionally charged Harpo's Ghost, her first set of original material since Avalanche.
Gilmore returned in 2008 with the ultra-polished Liejacker, and also became a parent. In typical idiosyncratic fashion, she recorded a holiday collection titled Strange Communion, issuing it in 2009. In lieu of a fresh studio offering, she released the half-acoustic/half-electric live set Recorded Delivery in 2010. In 2011, Gilmore returned to recording with partner and co-producer Nigel Stonier and co-producer/engineer Mike Cave for her 11th studio set, Murphy's Heart, recorded both in Liverpool and in Ventura, California. The cast of 13 musicians for these sessions was her largest to date. Returning to the studio once again with Stonier, Gilmore set about to record 2011's John Wesley Harding, a complete reworking of the Bob Dylan album. Gilmore followed this up with Don't Stop Singing, a specially recorded collaborative album with the late Sandy Denny. Two years later, after giving birth to her second son, Gilmore returned with 2013's Regardless. Her next record, 2015's Ghosts & Graffiti, saw her revisiting six songs from her back catalog and also included four new compositions. By 2017, she had returned to a more traditional approach for her 16th studio album, The Counterweight. Described as a companion piece to Avalanche, the record featured a number of songs inspired by events in 2016, like the murder of MP Jo Cox and the British referendum on Brexit. ~ MacKenzie Wilson & Thom Jurek