Q&A July 2013, Part I
8/7/2013 (updated 8/7/2013)

Re: Changing tunings
I have been playing Poor Ditching Boy in DADGAD for about 30 years. I see in your songbook that you play it in drop d. Do you ever change tunings from the way the song was originally recorded? If so what has changed? Karen Wangner

I can't remember what tuning it was recorded in - probably drop D. It is as good or better to play it in DADGAD, and I have done that from time to time. I find it not unusual that I forget how a piece was recorded, including the key, so I'll just pick something that works live - sometimes I pick wrong, of course.

Re: Lowell concert
I want to thank Richard for an excellent show in Lowell. I hadn't seen an RT show in quite a while but I am always amazed when I do. My question is, since the Lowell show was a series of a couple solo acoustic shows in the middle of your electric tour, I was wondering if that makes you enjoy these shows even more as a break from playing mostly electric with the trio? Your shows are always amazing but you seemed especially energized that night. Or maybe it was because I haven't seen a live show in a while.  By the way I brought my 13 year old son and 7 year old daughter and they really enjoyed it, particularly my son who is taking guitar lessons... Thank you again. Chris Dupuis, Littleton, MA

Sometimes I do get more energy switching from band to solo and vice versa. I find one-offs the hardest - I usually like to get a run of shows to get dug in.

Re: Life and life only
I was recently listening to Life and Life Only from Al Stewart's Love Chronicles. I was listening to guitar solo at the end and thought that I detected a slightly Thompsonesque touch to the playing particularly towards the very end. I see that most people credit Jimmy Page as playing lead guitar on the whole of this album, but you were also there. Could you shed some light? All the best and many thanks for so much everything you've done and keep doing to keep alive the kind of music that seems so much to so many people. John More

Fairport played on a lot of that record, under assumed names for contractual reasons. I know Jimmy Page did a few tracks with Al, but I can't remember which they were.

Re: Question for RT
I had the tremendous good fortune to see you in the intimate setting of Joe's Pub in NYC earlier this year. I've still got a buzz from that. Thank you! The list of your songs that I'd love to cover in a band or in my home studio is huge. But I have an extremely literal bent (the old song Daddy's Home by Shep and the Limelites has always evoked images of my father coming down the driveway -- I don't run too deep, verbally). Your songs move me so! but I haven't a clue what so much of your imagery is about. Do you think that this disqualifies an artist from covering a song? Thanks so much for the Q&A. - Jon Light, pedal steel guitar

If the songs move you, then you must be getting something - perhaps even something I didn't intend to be there! So in spite of your misgivings, I don't think you have a problem.

Just curious, have you ever considered covering Pink's song "Who Knew?" It seems to me like it'd be a good fit for you.  Thanks. J. Lee

Could earn me a few misguided hits on UTube. Otherwise I think I'll pass.


Had a great time at my first Frets and Refrains camp, thanks. Was going to pose this question, but there was so much other valuable information being presented, I thought I'd let it go. I can't. So here 'tis: with so many bands these days touring behind famous albums-Steely Dan playing Aja or Gaucho, front to back, top to bottom, for instance.Have you given any thought to a similar tour behind the one album that deserves such treatment? I'm speaking of course, of Richard Thompson starring in The Revenge of Henry the Human Fly? That'll show 'em. It's a sure thing. How about it? Ross DeAeth, Lexington, Ky.

If everyone who bought that album came to see the tour, we could be in for a promotional disaster. I am not averse to the idea of performing single-album shows. I just can't think of one of mine I would enjoy doing.