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Richard Thompson Journeys Across The Sea of Time
5/31/2006 (updated 6/7/2006)

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For Immediate Release
May 31, 2006

Richard Thompson Journeys Across The Sea of Time

Richard Thompson's '1000 Years of Popular Music' (Cooking Vinyl USA/ June 27) Joins Illustrious Current Crop of Time-Traveling Albums, Shows

"All things old are made new again" is the ethos that informs Richard Thompson's latest masterpiece, the sharply entertaining '1000 Years of Popular Music'DVD + CDs (Cooking Vinyl USA/ June 27). But these days, Thompson is being joined by a growing cast of luminaries in this "historical" approach to music. Bruce Springsteen has thrown open the doors on Pete Seeger's catalogue for the material on his latest album, the uplifting 'We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.' And Bob Dylan now takes listeners of his XM Radio show on a journey through the archives of his mind, intermingling songs both old and new with anecdotes and personal recollections, much the way Thompson does in his live performances of the '1000 Years' set.

There has even been a bit of cross-pollenation among this new breed of archivist-musician. Both Springsteen and Thompson perform the early American lover's lament "Shenandoah" on their respective projects, while Dylan included another of Thompson's '1000 Years' selections, "Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-Oh-Dee" on his "Drinking" themed show.

This approach, says Thompson, brings the music back to its traditional role, when each song served a purpose. He tells No Depression magazine's Barry Mazor: "An old song from Scotland would have been sung around a table in a pub or somebody's front room, and the function was to be amusing, or to tell a story, to express a political viewpoint, or just relate the local news. . . it was TV, radio, /and/ the internet. That wandering minstrel of history had a function as a culture carrier, even from one country to another." On '1000 Years of Popular Music,' Thompson does that job beautifully, bringing these songs into the light of day for new listeners, and new generations.

'1000 Years of Popular Music' was recorded over two nights in February 2005, at Bimbo's in San Francisco, with Thompson accompanied by Debra Dobkin on percussion and Judith Owen on vocals. The DVD was directed by Erik Nelson, who produced Werner Herzog's acclaimed 2005 documentary "Grizzly Man." Nelson is also an Executive Producer of the upcoming feature documentary "Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man."