Thea Gilmore releases “Small World Turning” on 17th May + UK Tour Dates

thea gilmore - small world turning

Thea Gilmore releases “Small World Turning” on 17 May – her first new collection of songs since 2017’s “The Counterweight” which was her 3rd successive top 40 album.

“Small World Turning” takes a sharp musical turning of its own, many may argue a new commitment to what Thea Gilmore does best, as it’s an album with an unashamed folk flavour.

An artist of enduring international acclaim (Bruce Springsteen regularly names her as a favourite) and a justly revered lyricist, Gilmore’s musical settings have taken many ingenious detours in recent years. “Murphy’s Heart” (2010) arrived with a buffed-up radio sheen, 2013’s “Regardless” was luscious chamber pop and “The Counterweight” (2017) brought electronica flavourings to the table.

“Small World Turning” nails its colours to a very different wall from the get-go. Acoustic guitars are back to the fore, and a quintessentially rootsy array of instruments frame them – fiddles, whistles, mandolins, tenor banjos are all in abundance.

Given the reverence in which Gilmore is held among contemporaries it will be no surprise that UK folk royalty including Cara Dillon, Seth Lakeman, Sam Lakeman, Katriona Gilmore, Jamie Roberts and BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Award winner 2013 Ciaran Algar all step up to contribute. Moreover the engine room of the record  – which contains no traditional kit drums – is a stellar and diverse Transatlantic rhythm section of Matt Owens (Noah And The Whale) and Michael Blair (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello).

But “Small World Turning” is no hollow parade of the famous. As is ever the case with Thea Gilmore, it’s the songs that define and dazzle, and the 11 new compositions on display are a blend of melodic lilt and dark brooding choruses, with lyrics that repeatedly hold up a magnifying glass  to  2019  England and  impale  greed,  bigotry, class  divide  and  hoarded wealth.

The opening “Cutteslowe Walls” sets the tone – said walls were an infamous divide which stood for 20 years in Oxford last century, built to prevent luxury homeowners having to look at the slums in their neighbourhood. The walls become an emblem which recurs, if not by mention by implication, in several of the albums songs.

Where there’s a line down at the food bank … Where sleeping bags are blocking doorways You’ll see the shadow of the Cutteslowe Walls

Grandam  Gold,  a  phrase  going  all  the  way  back  to  Geoffrey  Chaucer  in  describing hoarded wealth and the grip of misers on their gains, now lends its name to a pithy and beautiful ballad on which Gilmore duets with Cara Dillon. Dillon also appears on the exquisite Don’t Dim Your Light For Anyonetaking a spine tingling whistle solo while Sam Lakeman sits in on beautifully restrained piano.

A mother of two herself, Gilmore frames the album with 2 lullabies – a snippet of the traditional “Mockingbird” and the unbearably lovely “Dreamers“, sung by a Mother aspiring to cross the Mexican border with her child.

Elsewhere, the anthemic The Fuseraises both the tempo and the mood with its irresistible chorus. The Revisionisttargets the climate and repositioning of endemic racism ( “Throwing hatred like confetti, drinking populism neat…”) … and Karr’s Lament– perhaps Gilmore’s most beautiful song in a decade – sits with an almost unearthly serenity at the heart of the album.

A gifted and exceptional artist at the peak of her powers, Thea Gilmore has delivered a vibrant and deeply resonant album, rooted in folk music but completely transcending any genre related limitations.

In a tempestuous and changing social environment now is a time to state your allegiance. As Thea and Cara Dillon sing over Grandam Gold’sclosing bars ‘Accept what is simple or defend what is right.

Available on CD | Vinyl | Digital

All songs written by Thea Gilmore except track 1 (Trad arr. Thea Gilmore and Track 5 (Thea Gilmore/Nigel Stonier).
All songs produced by Nigel Stonier



Weds 15 GLASGOW Oran Mor
Thurs 16 ARLINGTON Arts Centre
Fri 17 NORWICH Open
Mon 20 BRISTOL St Georges
Tues 21 LONDON Union Chapel
Weds 22 BROMSGROVE Artrix
Thurs 23 SHREWSBURY Walker Theatre
Fri 24 LEEDS City Varieties
Sun 26 GATESHEAD Sage 2
Mon 27 MILTON KEYNES The Stables
Tues 28 WORTHING St Pauls Arts Centre
Weds 29 CARDIFF Acapela
Thurs 30 PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
Fri 31 TORRINGTON Plough Arts Centre