British singer-songwriter Sarah Gillespie s first two albums won her critical acclaim for mixing folk, blues and jazz with vivid lyrical imagery. Her latest album Glory Days cements her reputation, not only as a starkly original songwriter, but also as a formidable musician. Featuring eight original songs and one cover, the solo guitar tracks (Postcards to Outer Space, Oh Mary) mark her as a fiercely good guitarist and a Joni Mitchell for the new age. There is a sharp intelligence and wit at play, as she bestows her musical heritage (she is half American) of Delta blues, Cole Porter-esque wordplay and folk narrative onto visions of the modern world where church bells can be downloaded, wars watched on 24-hour news cycles and where relationships rely on the receptiveness of smart phones (Signal Failure). ...equally assured writing about the personal or the political. The Times Despite her trademark smattering of socio-politics Glory Days is Gillespie s most personal album to date. Songs alluding to grief reveal songwriter intent on transforming the pain of loss into a triumphant celebration of life. Similarly, the love songs on the album evolve from heartache my, my, your love was like/digesting dynamite to the witty quips of comical pastiche Babies and All That Shit you want some hooker in the back ground and I don t mean John Lee. Backed by a formidable band including 2010 Mercury Prize nominee Kit Downes on piano, Sarah Gillespie s Glory Days was produced by Gilad Atzmon. His production beautifully augments the backdrop of Gillespie s melodies with dreamlike Wurlitzer piano, subtle clarinets and moody accordions. All this provides Gillespie with the space to weave her poetic tales, which she delivers with an edgy tour de force that marks her out as an exceptional performer. Despite the smattering of socio politics, Glory Days is Gillespie s most personal album to date. Songs alluding to grief (Postcards to Outer Space) the night devours us and the wind sings its oblivious blues and the beatific title track that journeys through biopic snap shot images of reminisced moments, reveal a songwriter transforming the pain of loss into a triumphant celebration of life. Similarly the love songs swing from heart ache my, my your love was like digesting dynamite to the witty quips of Babies And All That Shit you want some hooker in the back ground and I don t mean John Lee. With a voice described as powerful, seductive & vulnerable, Gillespie delivers her stories with a tour de force worthy of any theatrical stage. A more raw and acoustic album that its predecessors, Atzmon s innovative production places Gillespie s deft finger picking guitar at the forefront of a formidable trio featuring Mucury nominated Kit Downes on piano, Enzo Zirilli on drums and Ben Bastin on double bass.
About the Artist
Sarah Gillespie was born in London to an American mother and British father. She grew up in Norfolk, England interspersed with numerous trips to Minnesota, where she soaked in the sounds of Bessie Smith, Bob Dylan, Cole Porter and early blues and jazz. From the age of 4, Sarah composed songs on piano, and then at 15 began playing guitar. At 18, she moved to the USA, busking in the streets and playing gigs. On returning to London, she gained a first class degree in Film And Literature and an MA in Politics and Philosophy from Goldsmiths University. Supporting Ian Dury s band The Blockheads at Ronnie Scotts one night, Sarah met the saxophonist and composer Gilad Atzmon who went on to produce Sarah s critically acclaimed albums Stalking Juliet (2009) In The Current Climate (2011) and her anti-war narrative suite The War on Trevor (2012). Sarah has since performed live on BBC Radio 4 s Woman s Hour, been interviewed by Andrew Marr on Start The Week as well as receiving radio play on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and numerous radio stations world wide. She has performed in many festivals, arts centres and jazz venues in Europe and across the UK including headline shows at the world famous Ronnie Scott s in London. Her music is a fusion of jazz, folk and blues knitted together by poetic, streetwise lyricism. The Guardian s jazz critique John Fordham describes Gillespie as (joining) Bob Dylan s lyrical bite and languid delivery to the forthrightness of Joni Mitchell, with a little rap-like percussiveness thrown in, she is an original. Sarah s band features Enzo Zirilli on drums and Ben Bastin on double bass with special guests Gilad Atzmon and Mercury nominated pianist Kit Downes joining on recent concerts. Her third album Glory Days will be released in June 2013. Sarah also writes political papers published on various news websites, paints, performs poetry and hosts songwriting workshops. She lives in London.