PHOTO & REVIEW: AMERICAN SONGWRITER - Richard Thompson & Friends in Woodstock
7/1/2013 (updated 7/1/2013)

Happy Traum, Martin Simpson, Jack Thompson, RT, Zak Hobbs, Teddy Thompson,
John Sebastian, Sloan Wainwright, Nancy Covey, Steve Murphy close the after
Frets and Refrains concert at Bearsville Theater with Little Liza Jane.
Annaliese Moyer, Stage Right Photo

Concert Review: Richard Thompson & Friends in Woodstock, NY

Although Richard Thompson was the headliner on Friday night at The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, New York, the show was more like a big reunion. The first half of the evening featured some of the leading lights of the Woodstock folk scene performing in front of a rapt audience of locals. There was also the Thompson family reunion, as Richard, two sons, and even a nephew took charge in the second half of the show.

All of the evening's performers were part of a guitar camp that Richard Thompson hosted in the Catskill Mountains, and several audience members were attendees of that camp.

It was closing in on 11PM ET when Richard Thompson hit the stage, but any worries about a tired audience were quickly dispelled when he tore into the bittersweet glory of "I Misunderstood." Thompson dipped briefly into the Fairport Convention catalog, but he mostly stuck to his solo work of the past few decades as well as a couple fine offerings from his most recent release, Electric. The new ones fit among the classics seamlessly: Ballad "Saving The Good Stuff For You" was a real honeydripper, while "Good Things Happen To Bad People" was feisty and fine.

Of course, Thompson's guitar wizardry was on display on every track. He somehow makes his acoustic sound like an entire band, mixing tripping folk melodies with sudden blasts of staccato rock power. His blistering take on "Valerie" gained an explosive ovation. And when he performed "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," well, it goes without saying that it was a knockout.

Late in the evening, Thompson brought out the whole clan: sons Jack and Teddy on bass and guitar, with nephew Zak Hobbs and honorary family member Sebastian filling out the lineup. The quintet tore through a stunningly vibrant version of "The Price Of Love," taking an Everly Brothers oldie and making it sound like their newest release. Gentle nostalgia is fine now and again, but Richard Thompson's performance in Woodstock demonstrated that he's charging relentlessly ahead even when he takes a quick look back.

Jim Beviglia, American Songwriter´╗┐