REVIEW: BC - Richard Thompson - ELECTRIC

MUSIC REVIEW: Richard Thompson

Many musicians can point to the Grammys and other music awards that demonstrate critical appreciation for their work. But few can boast a lifetime achievement award from BBC Radio or have been appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen of England's New Year Honours list. Richard Thompson has earned these awards and more. His songs have been recorded by the likes of Robert Plant, REM, Elvis Costello, and Bonnie Raitt. Since 1967, when he was the main motor of Fairport Convention, Thompson has continually been praised as a guitar virtuoso. With such accolades, you'd think he would be a household name.

But even after all these years, Thompson is more heard about than listened to, at least in the commercial mainstream. He's recorded for a series of major labels, but all ended up letting his contract lapse. Now, since 2000, Thompson has been finding and expanding on his audience by going the indie route, and his unique breed of music is ideal for this kind of marketing. So his new Electric should appeal to old fans who've been championing him for decades and may earn him some new devotees as well.

Produced in Buddy Miller's home studio in Nashville, Electric is a no-frills, quickly knocked out affair with no pretensions or unneeded gloss. As with every Thompson album, guitar players will enjoy the primer he offers, especially his solos and hot licks. For everyone else, odds are there will be nuggets to appreciate if not the collection as a whole. Most of the songs, for the lyrics alone, are worthy of more than one listen.

Wesley Britton, BC *blogcritics