Richard Thompson — Still (June 29, 2015)≡ Thompson do této doby udělal přes 40 alb, takže je snadné brát ho jako referenčního hudebníka. Ale tato kolekce, ostrá jako břitva, si zaslouží pozornost, ať už jste fan dlouholetý či nově obrácený. Nahrával v rozsáhlém podkroví ve Wilco studiu, Chicago, IL. Album se může pochlubit klasickým a moderním leskem, kde singer~songwriter klade velký důraz na výraznou kytaru a na front + středolokační zpěv: přesně tam, kde by měl být.
≡ Richard je skvělý kapelník: “Still” umožňuje spoustu dynamické souhry mezi ním a rytmickou sekcí (basák Taras Prodaniuk a bubeník Michael Jerome). Thompsona vždy přitahovaly méně příjemné stránky lidské psychiky, proto vzdávám hold faktu, že ani tady neztrácí vřelost a břitký vtip.
≡ RT je jeden z mála žijících opravdových hudebních mistrů.
≡ Richard John Thompson OBE (born 3 April 1949, Notting Hill Gate, London, England)Instruments: Vocals, guitar, mandolin, Appalachian dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, accordion, harmonium, keyboards
Album release: 23 June 2015 (USA) / 29 June 2015 (UK)
Recorded: The Loft Studio (Chicago)
Record Label: Proper
01 "She Never Could Resist a Winding Road" 4:28
02 "Beatnik Walking" 3:54
03 "Patty Don’t You Put Me Down" 4:30
04 "Broken Doll" 3:51
05 "All Buttoned Up" 4:07
06 "Josephine" 3:25
07 "Long John Silver" 4:00
08 "Pony in the Stable" 2:45
09 "Where’s Your Heart" 4:05
10 "No Peace No End" 4:16
11 "Dungeons for Eyes" 3:49
12 "Guitar Heroes" 7:40
Variations EP (included with the deluxe edition CD)
01 "Fork in the Road"
02 "Wounding Myself"
03 "The May Queen"
04 "Don't Take it Laying Down"
05 "Fergus Laing"
Producer: Jeff Tweedy
♦ Richard Thompson — guitars and vocals
♦ Jeff Tweedy — guitar, vocals
♦ Michael Jerome — drums
♦ Taras Prodaniuk — bass
♦ Jim Elkington — guitar
♦ Liam Cunningham — vocals
♦ Sima Cunningham — vocals © Photo: Annaliese Moyer Tassano
Richard Thompson :: Beatnik Walking
♦ Author: T Wilcox
≡ Like any artist who has been making records for close to five decades, Richard Thompson has tried out various modes and methods in the studio. He’s worked with a variety of producers, from the legendary Joe Boyd in the 1960s to Mitchell Froom in the 1990s to Buddy Miller on 2013’s invigorating Electric.
≡ After all these years, probably the best approach for anyone working with Thompson is to just step out of the way and make it easy for the man do his thing — that wonderful thing that no other musician in the world is capable of. And that’s what Jeff Tweedy seems to do on Thompson’s latest effort, the powerful Still.
≡ Thompson has made more than 40 albums at this point, so it’s easy to take him for granted. But this razor–sharp collection deserves your attention, whether you’re a longtime fan or a new convert. Recorded at Wilco’s expansive loft studio in Chicago, Still boasts a classic–but–contemporary sheen that puts the singer–songwriter’s distinctive guitar and vocals front and center, right where they should be.
≡ As always, listening to Thompson on guitar, whether acoustic or electric, is pure pleasure; as an instrumentalist, he’s incapable of a wrong or misplaced note, even at his most adventurous — check out his stinging, quiet storm of a solo on “Where’s Your Heart,” or the bravado, virtuosic display on the closing “Guitar Heroes” (wherein Thompson cheekily quotes Django, Chuck Berry, Les Paul and more, like it ain’t no thing). He’s also a great bandleader: Still allows for plenty of dynamic interplay between Thompson and his crack rhythm section, bassist Taras Prodaniuk, and drummer Michael Jerome.
≡ The trio’s easy rapport is evident on Still’s second track, “Beatnik Walking,” a travelogue with an infectious thump that belies some of the dark undercurrents of the lyrics. Thompson has always been attracted to the less pleasant sides of the human psyche, but he never loses his warmth and caustic wit. Take a listen and enjoy the work of one of music’s few true masters. ≡ http://www.aquariumdrunkard.com/ © The ultimate triple threat? Richard Thompson. Photograph: Vincent Dixon
By John Murphy | Posted on 23 Jun 2015 | Score: ****
≡ Now on the 16th album of his solo career (not to mention genre–defining work with his former wife Linda, and with folk godfathers Fairport Convention), Richard Thompson is long past serving up surprises. For by now, you’re pretty sure what you’re going to get with a Thompson album — and, despite employing Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy on production duties, Still fits very nicely into his latter–day canon.
≡ This is, as anyone who has ever heard a Richard Thompson album will testify, no bad thing. Following on from the success of Electric, Still is a pleasingly eclectic album (for all of Thompson’s identification with folk, there are rock stompers sat next to plaintive ballads) with Thompson’s trademark guitar pyrotechnics never threatening to overshadow his considerable songwriting skills.
≡ Nowhere is this more charmingly demonstrated than in Guitar Heroes, the seven minute tour–de–force that closes the record — an autobiographical tale of Thompson staying in on a Saturday night to practice his guitar playing, it sees him namedropping the likes of Django Reinhardt, Les Paul and The Shadows before slipping into a note–perfect impression of each hero’s style. In anyone else’s hands it could be a horribly contrived and overtly showy piece, but Thompson’s sheer charm and talent means he pulls it off in spades.
≡ Elsewhere, the tone is less self–referential and we’re reminded of what an affecting songwriter Thompson can be. Although there’s nothing that quite tops classics like 1952 Vincent Black Lightning or the still startlingly vicious Don’t Tempt Me, there are enough examples on Still to prove that he’s still at the top of his game. The opening She Never Could Resist A Winding Road is a gorgeously folky ballad, and Long John Silver is an incendiary blues stomper that’s bound to go down a storm at Thompson’s live shows.
≡ For most of the time, the guitar solos are reined in somewhat. At first, this may seem a bit odd, like giving Lionel Messi a football and instructing him not to try any of those fancy tricks with it, but it works, and gives songs like Patty Don’t You Put Me Down and the blistering, heads–down rock of No Peace No End more room to breathe, the guitar riffs being used as a solid backbone to the songs rather than a chance to show off.
≡ Thompson’s acerbic sense of humour is still present and correct too — All Buttoned Up tells the tale of a beautiful girlfriend who “crosses her arms to hide all her charms” and “changes with the weather, keeps her knees together”. Having listened to a sixty–something man complain that he can’t get a shag, if you can ignore the rather icky sentiment it’s brilliantly played. The bruised anti–love song Where’s Your Heart is similarly caustic, but more brooding, and Josephine sees Thompson return to his folk roots, a haunting portrait of a woman who “cries desolation to phantoms….but nobody hears”.
≡ Tweedy keeps up an unobtrusive presence throughout, letting Thompson play to his strengths, and it all results in another reliably consistent album. While there’s nothing particularly striking about Still, it’s another example of the sort of thing that Richard Thompson does best.
“Richard’s been one of my favorite guitar players for a very long time,” states Jeff Tweedy. “When I think about it, he’s also one of my favorite songwriters and favorite singers. He’s the Ultimate Triple Threat. Getting to work closely with him on this record was a truly rewarding experience, not to mention a great thrill. And he keeps alive my streak of working exclusively with artists who make me look good as a producer.”
♦ TOM MOON, JUNE 07, 201511:03 PM ET / SCORE: 3 stars (out of 4)
♦ Richard Thompson's 16th solo album Still closes with an unusual homage to his longstanding sources of inspiration. It's called "Guitar Heroes," and though it's predominantly a standard jump blues, it's laced with extended interludes in which Thompson — arguably the most under-appreciated guitar hero currently recording — tips his hat to Django Reinhardt, Les Paul and other titans.
♦ Each detour is rendered in an idiomatically correct rhythm, and each shows Thompson's command of the relevant style. It's like a high–speed history class, taught by one who has pondered, in depth, the signature sounds and moves of the greats.
♦ Still, something is slightly off. Such homages tend to be awkward — here's a little song celebrating people who made great music! But there's also Thompson's own shadow: In the preceding 11 tracks, he's displayed all facets of his subversive, blink–and–you–miss–it six–string genius. He builds some tunes around pretty, contemplative acoustic arpeggios that recall his Fairport Convention days, when he and others were just developing folk–rock. He plays abrasive chords that glory in half–steps and semitones — in "No Peace No End," these accumulate into majestic, repetitive intensity that evokes Indian raga. He spices otherwise earnest rock tunes ("Patty Don't You Put Me Down") with weird, claw–fisted ad–libs.
♦ Thompson is coming off a 2013 album many place among his career peaks. Electric, produced by Buddy Miller, marked the first time in a while that Thompson permitted himself more than a breath or two of guitar commentary between verses, and those passages hit with a profound wallop, deepening the meaning of the songs. Still is produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, who's no stranger to the guitar as storm–bringer, pile–driver, sonic centerpiece. So there's reason to expect fireworks, especially since the album was recorded in a nine–day burst.
♦ But apart from "Guitar Heroes," Still is considerably less showy. A song guy at heart, Thompson takes care to color within the perimeters of his songs, providing what's needed and no more. He wants the focus on the narratives, on the woman who's terrified of intimacy and walks around "All Buttoned Up," and the one who "Never Could Resist A Winding Road," and the one who has suddenly, inexplicably, gone cold, prompting him to wonder, "Where's Your Heart?"
♦ This deliberate choice confines most of the guitar pyrotechnics to the margins. Which might seem like a drag, but actually plays to Thompson's strengths; he treats his playing as a spice, not the main course. Through nuance and implication, he gingerly underscores and amplifies the narratives, filling out the emotional intention running beneath and between the words. In his music, the brief guitar moments between verses aren't placeholders; they're opportunities for elaboration that are integral to the spirit and the tone of the tunes. These can require him to sound cuddly and soothing, but they also inspire him to drop in the instrumental equivalent of a caustic comment or a withering punchline.
♦ This type of playing isn't nearly as theatrical as an arena–rock solo; Thompson here avoids all the stock ritualized elements of rock guitar. When he takes a solo, it's a swerving, cathartic, edge–of–the–seat experience. When he doesn't take a solo, the bliss comes in highly concentrated doses. Let other guitarists babble on. Thompson is one of the few who can make a four–measure phrase feel positively epic.
REVIEW: Greg Kot, CHICAGO TRIBUNE email@example.com
≡ Richard Thompson stayed home to play guitar on Saturday nights, and now he's glad he did.
≡ On the closing track of his new album, "Still" (Fantasy), Richard Thompson sings about his youthful obsession. He claims that he wouldn't go out on Saturday nights because he had to practice guitar. It's all done tongue in cheek, but there's also deeper intention.
≡ Thompson is a fan first, and this modern master gives some of his inspirations their due in "Guitar Heroes," the seven–minute showcase that caps his 16th studio album. He plays in the style of each master who mentored him long–distance, expertly echoing the jazzy inflections of Django Reinhardt, the trills of Les Paul, the bounce of Chuck Berry, the Southern authority of James Burton, the treble–soaked surf of the Shadows. Then he offers a humble salute: "I still don't know how my heroes did it." The homage closes with Thompson soloing, and it deftly demonstrates what the student has learned and how far he's gone.
≡ Though Thompson's music has always been rooted in England's deepest folk traditions, beginning with his teenage days in Fairport Convention during the '60s, he has consistently wedded that respect to a modernist's quest for surprise and the unconventional chord, the dissonant phrase, the oblique path. Just days after the death of Ornette Coleman, another improviser who absorbed the work of the greats that came before him and then remade the music to suit his own idiosyncratic vision, Thompson's new album arrives as another example of how a mature artist can continue to innovate.
≡ This time, the innovations are more subtle. Recorded in Chicago with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy as producer, "Still" dials down some of the guitar ferocity that characterized Thompson's two previous releases, "Electric" (2013) and "Dream Attic" (2010). ≡ Tweedy's primary virtue as a producer is to remain almost invisible, to clear out as much clutter as possible so the music can flourish. He gathers a small group of personal cronies around Thompson and his rhythm section. The guitarist responds with concise performances shaded by harmony vocals and focused on the songs.
≡ The guitar playing remains brilliant, but it is tighter, dropping into narrow spaces between verses to serve as commentary or punctuation on what Thompson has just sung. Lustrous acoustic finger–picking on "Josephine" acts as both counterpoint to the voice and an extension of it. Rock chords splinter into bursts of tumbling, spiraling notes on "Long John Silver." A droning yet propulsive East–meets–West locomotive pushes "No Peace, No End" to ecstatic heights, belying the dark lyrics.
≡ The penultimate track, "Dungeons for Eyes," is darker still, a haunted vision of evil and the narrator's inability to forgive. In that context, the decision to close the album with "Guitar Heroes" hardly sounds like the fun toss–off it might initially suggest. ≡ Instead, it explains where a man of conflicted faith has found his solace ever since he was a teenager woodshedding with his guitar on Saturday nights.
≡ 'Still', Richard Thompson, 3 stars (out of 4)
Written by Hal Horowitz, June 23rd, 2015 at 10:37 am, Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
≡ http://www.americansongwriter.com/2015/06/richard-thompson-still/ BIOGRAPHY
≡ “The finest rock songwriter after Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix.” — Los Angeles Times
≡ “A folksinger who (shreds) like an arena–rock star... and still writes songs that sting and storm.” — NPR
≡ Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time, Richard Thompson is also one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters. He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards for Songwriting on both sides of the Atlantic — from the Americana Music Association in Nashville to Britain’s BBC Awards and the prestigious Ivor Novello. In 2011, Thompson was the recipient of the OBE (Order of the British Empire) personally bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Most recently, the Americana Music Honors & Awards nominated him for “Artist of the Year”.
≡ Having co–founded the groundbreaking group Fairport Convention as a teenager in the 60’s, Richard Thompson and his mates virtually invented British Folk Rock. By the age of 21 he left the band to pursue his own career, followed by a decade long musical partnership with his then–wife Linda, to over 30 years as a highly successful solo artist.
≡ A wide range of musicians have recorded Thompson’s music including Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, REM, Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, David Byrne, Don Henley and many others.
≡ Thompson’s massive body of work includes over 40 albums, many Grammy nominations, as well as numerous soundtracks, including Werner Hertzog’s Grizzy Man. ≡ His most recent CD, Electric, was produced by the great Nashville musician Buddy Miller (Band of Joy, Patty Griffin). Electric continues to receive positive praise with Rolling Stone declaring, “… the excellence is undeniable.”
≡ This year saw Richard Thompson headlining dates around the world as well as co–headlining shows with Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell. Thompson and his band joined the Americanarama Tour sharing the stage with Bob Dylan, Wilco, and My Morning Jacket culminating with Dylan himself covering RT’s classic song “’1952 Vincent Black Lightening”.
≡ Thompson’s genre defying mastery of both acoustic and electric guitar along with dizzying energy and onstage wit continue to earn Richard Thompson massive new fans and a place as one of the most distinctive virtuosos in folk rock history.
≡ “Genius appears early. Legends are earned. But history’s greatest never stand on their laurels. This is the artistic arc for Richard Thompson!”
• Only albums under Thompson's own name, and comprising only or mostly newly released material are included here. These are the albums that represent the solid corpus of his work as a songwriter and recording artist.
♦ Henry the Human Fly (1972)
♦ I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974)
♦ Hokey Pokey (1975)
♦ Pour Down Like Silver (1975)
♦ First Light (1978)
♦ Sunnyvista (1979)
♦ Strict Tempo! (1981)
♦ Shoot Out the Lights (1982)
♦ Hand of Kindness (1983)
♦ Across a Crowded Room (1985)
♦ Daring Adventures (1986)
♦ Amnesia (1988)
♦ Rumor and Sigh (1991)
♦ Mirror Blue (1994)
♦ You? Me? Us? (1996)
♦ Mock Tudor (1999)
♦ The Old Kit Bag (2003)
♦ Front Parlour Ballads (2005)
♦ 1000 Years of Popular Music (2006)
♦ Sweet Warrior (2007)
♦ Dream Attic (2010)
♦ Cabaret of Souls (2012)
♦ Electric (2013)
♦ Acoustic Classics (2014)
♦ Still (2015) © Richard Thompson with Jeff Tweedy