In promotion of her 11th studio album, Thea Gilmore is a true cult act. And there is something about intimate shows that makes English people liven up. The Exeter Phoenix is half full, if that, and the atmosphere is calm on this Sunday night. Thea Gilmore and friends (and husband) take to the stage and jubilant cheers emerge.
Two songs in and emotions are rising. Thea stops to inform us that "there's going to be some dancing tonight, so brace yourself." This West Country lot are not fazed; a sentiment confirmed when she asks: "has any one got the new album?" (Murphy's Heart) and she's met with the vivacious reply of one local "yes, and it's brilliant!" Amused turns of head met this lubber and Thea goes into a fantastic rendition of 'God's Got Nothing On You', and adds an anecdote that it was understood as an anti-Blair song. A nice interpretation but not an intentional one.
One song that's not misread by bad journalism is 'Coffee And Roses', a song which she sheepishly admits is about a conversation she and her husband (and producer, co-writer, and guitarist), Nigel Stonier, had about their favourite smells; "my baby loves coffee and roses."
Also to feature in the set is 2008's 'Old Stone' from the album Liejacker. With its haunting vocal and ambient rhythm, the echoes around the hall highlight Gilmore's talent as a vocalist, as with other sensational folk-rock gems such as 'Juliet' and 'Cheap Tricks'. But, seeing as it's October, and while the high streets up and down the country are telling us it's December, Thea doesn't treat us to 'That'll Be Christmas'.
What she does offer her loyal West Country troop is an exclusive new song, a true treat to her loyal lot. A venture which goes well (despite mobile phone feedback).