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Free at Noon Flashback: Richard Thompson stuns a packed house

Richard Thompson | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

“For those of you listening on radio we have a room full of people here,” mused Richard Thompson at today’s Free at Noon, waiting only until the packed house finished their cheers to add, “a room full of people skiving off work!” Nobody can say Thompson doesn’t have a keen sense of humor, even if his songs are usually more likely to inspire tears than laughter. It’s a testament to his mastery as a performer that despite the emotional weight of his eight-song set, Thompson kept the Free at Noon crowd lively and captivated with his charming stage presence and unparalleled musicianship. Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song(s) of the Week: Richard Thompson’s “The Storm Won’t Come” and “Bones of Gilead”

Richard Thompson | Photo by Tom Bejgrowicz/Courtesy of the artist

Legendary singer-songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson recently announced his 19th studio album, 13 Rivers.

Thompson, who co-founded the seminal British folk group Fairport Convention in 1967, last worked with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on 2015’s Still. For 13 Rivers, Thompson self-produced the album in an old studio in Hollywood with his band including drummer Michael Jerome, bassist Taras Prodaniuk, and guitarist Bobby Eichorn. Continue reading →

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Listen to Still, the new Jeff Tweedy produced album by Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson | Photo by Pamela Littky
Richard Thompson | Photo by Pamela Littky

Singer-songwriter Richard Thompson is releasing his 16th solo album, Still, on June 23rd. Produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, the album features a core trio of Thompson, bassist Taras Prodaniuk, and drummer Michael Jerome – with contributions from guitarist Jim Elkington of Jeff’s band Tweedy and harmony vocalists Liam Cunningham, his sister Sima Cunningham (both of Tweedy), and Siobhan Kennedy. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Week of Folk: Richard Thompson, Ursula Rucker, The Lawsuits are Friday’s highlights

Richard Thompson | Photo by John Vettese
Richard Thompson | Photo by John Vettese

The Friday lineup at the 52nd Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival was eclectic and exciting, beginning with a cluster of Philadelphia music scene staples and wrapping up with electrifying and impressive performance from folk scene mainstay Richard Thompson.

The Lawsuits kicked off the day on the main stage with an assortment of songs from their forthcoming LP Cool Cool Cool; they were poppy, they were country, they were classic rock, with songwriter Brian Dale Allen Strouse stepping behind the Steinway for a snappy take on “Onion” and singer Vanessa Winters owning “Long Drive Home” with a twangy vocal.

Lancaster trio The Stray Birds performed an assortment of songs from the as-yet-untitled album they just finished recording last week, Marc Silver rocked out some songs from his new story-centered album A Miner’s Tale, andToy Soldiers tore across a lively set of bluesy rockabilly from their forthcoming sophomore LP The Maybe Boys, due out September 10th.

Poet Ursula Rucker’s collaborative set with Philly guitar wizard Tim Motzer was easily the day’s highlight. While she read (and occasionally sang) pieces addressing social justice, racial prejudice,. gender and identity (among other topics), Motzer played a hypnotic guitar backing. Her performance of “Philadelphia Child” was particularly moving, as was the concluding call-and-response of “Super Sista.”

After an enjoyable performance from Philly-area celtic crew Runa, Richard Thompson took the stage to a thinning (but devoted) crowd. Thompson has played the fest several times as a solo artist; this time he was with his electric trio, which began on a jarringly funky note, but quickly settled into a groove that let Thompson’s guitar skills shine through. His nimble guitar shredding was impressive, “Shoot Out The Lights” backed by the band packed a punch that the song lacks when Thompson plays it solo. And his solo stab at “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” while not unexpected, didn’t disappoint either. Check out photos from the day in the gallery below.

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Just Announced: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell playing The Academy of Music in March with Richard Thompson Electric Trio

This winter, country music icon Emmylou Harris and singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell are embarking on their first official collaboration since 1975. On February 26, they will release the album Old Yellow Moon, and will tour in support of it with the Richard Thompson Electric Trio, who also has a new EP titled Electric. The tour comes to Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 26 at the Academy of Music – onsale information will be announced shortly. Below, watch archival video Emmylou and Rodney collaborating on “If I Could Only Win Your Love.”

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What’s your favorite musical side of Richard Thompson? The electric one or the acoustic one?

There are two musical sides to singer-songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Richard Thompson: the electric side and the acoustic side. Regardless of which side you’re a fan of, as far as we’re concerned he always rocks. Thompson is currently on a solo tour and he performs tomorrow night at the Keswick Theatre at 7:30 p.m. More information here. Below, some videos of both the electric and acoustic sides of Richard Thompson.

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Listen to Richard Thompson and Loudon Wainwright III’s appearance on World Cafe

You can listen to the full interview and the duo’s live performance via NPR Music.

Richard Thompson and Loudon Wainwright III have each assembled remarkable careers, full of top-notch albums and influential music that spans at least 40 years. In the five decades that Thompson has been making music, he’s earned some of the highest possible praise for his work as a live performer, guitarist, singer and songwriter. Wainwright, for his part, has recorded more than 20 albums, and is celebrated on an aptly titled new box set called 40 Odd Years.

Last year, Thompson released Dream Attic, while Wainwright put out 10 Songs for the New Depression, on which he reworks songs from the Depression era. Here, the two folk-rock legends describe how they began performing with one another for the Loud and Rich Tour. They also play songs together as part of the 2011 Cayamo Cruise.