The difficulty of reviewing this album without reaching for the book of superlatives probably lies in the fact that, personally, I don't encounter talent like this very often. It seems there has hardly been a month gone by in the last few years when a young female artist hasn't been lauded and /or rocketing up the popular charts. Some of the hype is justified, some not. Either way though it can become tiresome.
In my view at least Thea Gilmore is different. I came across her music by stumbling across `Razor Valentine' (not on this album) at the end of a one-off TV drama. A few seconds of listening to track samples was enough - the download was inescapable.
Comparisons and similes are inevitable whenever I stumble over an artist that is both new to me and makes an impact. Although Thea Gilmore has very much her own style there are clear echoes (to me) of Mary Chapin Carpenter. If you enjoy MCC's rich tapestry of guitar, strings (especially cello, that most powerful of the family) and thoughtful lyrics then you will be safe with this album.
The opener `Old Soul' pretty well sets the tone for the album - it's just simply gorgeous. `The Lower Road' not only features the legendary Joan Baez as guest duettist but would also sit perfectly at home on any MCC album. `And You Shall Know No Other God But Me' is, pardon the cliché, a truly haunting and arresting track. I could go on.
This album is, for me, a rich and yet mellow feast for the ears and based upon this one alone I will be buying everything else she has produced. Someone also appears to have priced it too cheaply. Compelling value for money therefore.