INTERVIEW: LEXGO - RT makes music for himselfl
4/7/2013 (updated 4/7/2013)

Richard Thompson makes music first and foremost for himself

The genesis for the new album was the idea of writing for the trio. My band is usually a five-piece. But sometimes, if we're just doing a one-off festival or something, we'll take out the trio because it makes economic sense. That's when I would think, 'Well, we don't have any material for the trio.' We usually just use old material that we've adapted. But writing for the trio would be fun. It's a different thing. There are different harmonic possibilities. There isn't a keyboard or rhythm guitar stretching the harmony all the time, so you have to kind of adapt the instruments. The whole idea for the new record was the trio and how you arrange for it. And that translates to the live situation extremely well.

It's hard to say about how songs start. Sometimes I just sit down to write a story and perhaps it starts with the first line. Then it just takes off in its own direction. You just become a storyteller. I'm never really sure, until it's written, of what the song is even about sometimes. The Snow Goose is a song about being young, I think. You have this desire. There is a part of your mind that says, 'You're going to end up failing. This is impossible. You can't do it.' And so, you never achieve anything. As I say, I don't quite know how these songs happen. But I think it's an interesting story that springs from my own past somewhere, from when I was a teenager, perhaps.

I have steady, loyal fans, some of whom have been there since the '60s. I thank them greatly for staying the course. But I suppose I make music for my own satisfaction first and hope that translates to other people. If it translates to 50 people, 500 people or 5,000 people, that's great. Any size audience, to me, is encouraging. If I can earn a living, that's tremendous. If the audience gets larger, then I think, 'Maybe I can tour with an extra musician or an extra crew member.' That's the way I think about it, really. I'm not concerned with being famous or super-rich. I just enjoy doing what I do.

Walter Tunis, Lexington Herald Leader