Gayle Skidmore

Gayle Skidmore: Banjo, Dulcimer, Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Piano, Vocals

Genre: Acoustic, Alternative, Rock

RIYL: Rheanna Downey, Caleb Jude Green, Kevin Marin, Get Back Loretta, the Silent Comedy, Stacy Clark, Bradley Hathaway, Portishead, Jewel, Lisa Loeb, Stars, Damien Rice, Jeff Buckley, Iron and Wine, the Smashing Pumpkins, Fiona Apple, Rachel Yamagata, Radiohead, Bright Eyes, Gregory Page, Sufjan Stevens, Coldplay, Tyrone Wells, Muse, Brandi, Carly Simon, Sigur Ros, Death Cab for Cutie, Andrew Bird, My Brightest Diamond, Lhasa de Sela, Jónsi, Sleeping at Last, Patty Griffin, Alphonse Maria Mucha, Elliot Smith, Muse, Simon & Garfunkel, Rufus Wainwright

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Synoposis

Inception: San Diego, 2002

Influences: Clare and the Reasons, Arcade Fire, Stars, Radiohead, My Brightest Diamond, Patrick Watson, Lhasa De Sela, Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens, Lost in the Trees

Background:

Gayle Skidmore was 11 when she confiscated her father’s 12-string guitar and taught herself to play. By the time the San Diego homegirl moved to England to study at Oxford University, she was experimenting with alternate tunings and finger styles and expanding her vocal styling to include a wider, operatic range and improvisational jazz phrasing.

While in the U.K., Skidmore performed on a local TV channel and then traveled through Germany, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland, playing on street corners and in youth hostels, busking wherever she could to earn change and the occasional free drink.

“I began playing piano in concerts around the same time,” she says, “and I even learned a bit of banjo, though I still prefer the comfort and collaboration of playing with a full band. If you fall down with people around you, someone’s there to pick you up. If you fall down alone, you pretty much stay down.”

After studying in San Diego for a master’s degree in theology with a concentration in Hebrew, Skidmore formed her own label, Raincoat Records. Her first release, the five-song EP Gayle, was issued in 2002. After her song “China” won the True American Records songwriting contest in 2003, she released a live album in 2004, followed by the 2005 EP So Deep.

Skidmore released her Paper Box EP in 2007. Produced by Skidmore, Preston Parsons, and Dave Reid, this album was created expressly for her Tour de Felícité, alongside Rheanna Downey and Amelia Emery.

Skidmore’s 2008 EP Cowley Road was co-produced by Aaron Bowen. In July 2009 she was featured in Germany’s prominent Seuddeutsche Zeitung, and has since won several song competitions in the Netherlands. She was nominated for Best Pop Album at the 2009 San Diego Music Awards and Best Americana at the 2010 SDMAs.

Her late 2010 album Make Believe on Raincoat Records came with an accompanying coloring book, and was released at the bandcamp website on a Name Your Own Price basis. She played fourteen instruments on the album, including the folk harp and the marimba, and composed all of the parts for her cellist and violinist. Make Believe was nominated Best Pop Album at the 2011 San Diego Music Awards.

Skidmore released her second full-length album and coloring book, Sleeping Bear (Raincoat Records) in September 2013, following her first vinyl release, a 7″ record Zombie Heart via Ninkasi Brewing Co. “This is the first time I've recorded the band live together,” she says. It includes a coloring book she created. “This is my second [album jacket] coloring book...I felt incredibly inspired by this album and spent a lot more time on the artwork, most of which I worked on while we were recording.”

She was named Best Singer-Songwriter at the 2013 San Diego Music Awards.

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