Richard Thompson: His new release, Electric, belongs in your playlist
In addition to being the seventh track on Richard Thompson‘s new CD, Electric (out February 5 on New West Records), “Where’s Home?” is also an appropriate question for the musician Rolling Stone magazine appropriately calls one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Originally from London and often considered a musician’s musician, Thompson isn’t entirely a household name. But Thompson, who married Angeleno Nancy Covey in the ’80s after a well-publicized split with his singer-songwriter wife Linda, now resides in California. And, of course, he still consistently tours so even if you don’t know his music, chances are high that he’s played your town.
On Electric, he playfully, adroitly ventures from British (“Stoney Ground,” “Salford,” “Another Small Thing In Her Favour”) to American (“Straight and Narrow,” “Saving The Good Stuff For You”) influences, never betraying allegiance. His skill – and taste and breadth – is too well-defined for that. This is a man who, when asked for his list of the “top ten songs of the millennium,” was inspired to produce an entire CD, 2006’s 1000 Years of Popular Music.
The lineup on Electric – essentially a power trio comprised of drummer Michael Jerome and bassist Taras Prodaniuk, with guests including Alison Krauss, Stuart Duncan, Siobhan Maher Kennedy and Nashville producer Buddy Miller – doesn’t necessarily point a direction home. Band lineups transcend geography and that’s certainly the case here. While it recalls Industry (Thompson’s 1997 dissection of the English industrial revolution that he recorded with bassist Danny Thompson), the driving “Stuck On The Treadmill” connotes current, geographically unspecific, economic angst.
“I belong somewhere,” Thompson sings on “Where’s Home.” But it’s not so much a yearning, questioning plaint as it is a statement of purpose. Yes, Richard Thompson does belong somewhere. Wherever that is, Electric makes it clear that the veteran singer-guitarist will be comfortable there.
Like the album? Thompson may be coming to your community on his upcoming tour with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. (More dates TBA.)
The Peabody Opera House, St. Louis, MO
The Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI
Symphony Center, Chicago, IL
Massey Hall, Toronto, ON
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
The Paramount, Huntington, NY
Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA
The Beacon Theater, New York, NY
Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD
Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham, NC
Belk Theater at Blumenthal PAC, Charlotte, NC
Johnny Mercer Theater, Savannah, GA
Cobb Energy PAC, Atlanta, GA