RT in the Canadian Press
12/7/2008 (updated 12/7/2008)

"It’s a thing that human beings have been doing for a long time: telling stories through song,” Thompson says over the phone from California. “What surprises me is that it still applies. ... The two songs at the top of the request list are both ballads; they’re both five, six-minute songs that tell stories."

Folk Fest gives royal treatment to singer-guitarist Thompson

Congratulations on the award. You've played the Folk Festival four times now. Any fond memories to share?

"Lots of hazy memories -- but all of them good. It's a great festival, one of the most respected folk festivals in the world. It's very well organized, and it's a great place to play."

"I had been trying to write a song about the Iraq War for a long time, since 2001," says Thompson, who will return to Knox United Church for a solo acoustic set on Sunday. "For me, it was an extremely political time. The Bush-Cheney years were very extreme indeed. It was an appropriate time to write a political song. Political songs should run throughout history. But there are times to be subtle and times to be implicit. Dad's Gonna Kill Me is perhaps not overly implicit, but it's a fairly implicit song."

"If you just listen to guitar players, it gets a bit incestuous and you disappear up your own ass. If you listen outside the guitar, you can bring other things into the guitar tradition. Like Django (Reinhardt) was listening to Louis Armstrong, and Mike Bloomfield was listening to saxophone players, and B.B. King was listening to singers and slide players ... I've been listening to a lot of pianists all my life. Pianists have two hands, so they're able to play bass lines, rhythm and melodies all at once. Attempting to do that on the guitar can be a broadening thing."

"There are songs you might write where you think it's a really good song," he says. "So you go to sing it for the first time and it really falls flat. The audience doesn't get it, because it doesn't communicate. So I'll sing it to myself in the bath, and be happy with it."

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