Thompson, Richard - Still,
In August I travelled back to the UK from the other side of the world to attend Fairport Convention’s 50th Anniversary at Cropredy, but although I knew it would be a very special event for that reason alone, the main rationale for going was to see Richard Thompson in concert for the very first time. Of course, there was a signing tent, and many of those performing had their allotted timeslot, and there were many CDs available. He had just released ‘Acoustic Classics II’ which I grabbed, but it was only by looking through the racks that I realised that I had missed this 2015 album, so that was added to my stash to be signed (yep, I was a real fanboy, even had my photo taken with him – I looked incredibly pleased while he looked somewhat bemused).
One of the real joys of Richard’s work is that while one may know what to expect, in reality, one never does. This is because he has an incredibly wide area of musical interests, which often results in an album not sounding like others as it may concentrate on just one musical style or form, or each song may be quite different. ‘Still’ has its basis in folk or folk-rock, and a real delicacy in the performances. It starts with the acoustic folk of “She Never Could Resist A Winding Road”, with just a few additional players to lift it away from a solo work. Delicate and emotive, I was already in love with the album at this point. Other highlights are the almost funky “All Buttoned Up”, which is one of his tongue in cheek comedic numbers, driven here by an electric guitar that is quite pizzicato in its approach. But, the standout number for me is “Josephine”, which demonstrates yet again the depth of his songwriting abilities with an acoustic guitar and minimal other backing. Slow and languid in its approach, this has class stamped all the way through it.
Richard Thompson is a true British institution, as not only is he one of our very finest songwriters and one of the greatest guitarists of all time, but he refuses to rest on his laurels and is still touring and releasing new material. This is a very fine addition to his canon.