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What is there to say about Richard Thompson? Well, for one, he’s a genius. It’s not up for debate with this writer. He’s an unparalleled guitarist and songwriter, he was the heat behind the legendary Fairport Convention and his discography is littered with classic songs.
After years spent making brilliant records, first with Joe Boyd, then with Mitchell Froom, and a few more recently with Simon Tassano, Thompson has been trying out some new blood as of late, starting with Buddy Miller on 2013’s Electric. Building on the invigorated sound of the impressive Electric, Thompson has now joined up with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy for his newest entitled Still.
The album starts with “She Never Could Resist A Winding Road”; a song that would fit in well anywhere in Thompson’s influential catalog. The coda on this one is worth the price of admission alone. “All Buttoned Up” taps into that rough and tumble Richard and Linda “Back Street Slide” vibe, both in its biting lyrics and cutting riffs.
“Pony In The Stable” is an impressive and interesting workout by Thompson that more than shows he’s far from being out of ideas, but “Josephine” may be the most welcomed of the disc. Here Thompson pens a tune more akin to Mike and Lal Waterson than to anything of his own in quite a while. It’s a testament to his depth and proves a nice reprieve from RT’s electric output on the album.
On the aptly titled Still,Tweedy’s “no frills” production is refreshing and reminiscent of the classic work RT did early on with Joe Boyd. It does little to get in the way of Thompson and the energized turn his music has taken in the last few years. Much like 2013’s Electric, Still gives Thompson new context and the freedom he needs to continue chasing the muse.
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