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Richard Thompson - Still (Proper)

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Produced by Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson's new record STILL once again reveals an artist whose craft continues to spellbind at each stroke of the pen and at each touch of a strings. I don't think Richard Thompson will ever consider going off at an entirely different tangent with his music now, he seems to have settled into making the sort of music that suits him and fortunately suits his fans too. Those daring adventures should probably be left to a different kind of musician. So, with that in mind, there's no big revelatory surprises here, no wild frontiers reached, in fact some of the songs sound almost familiar. The opening song for instance, She Could Never Resist a Winding Road, really wouldn't be lost on the HAND OF KINDNESS album, Long John Silver could be from ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM and the delicate Josephine could be from any period. The autobiographical Beatnik Walking is probably the finest song on the album, recalling an earlier time with ex-wife Linda and son Teddy touring Holland in the early 1970s. Joined by the ELECTRIC rhythm section, Taras Prodaniuk on bass and Michael Jerome on drums, Thompson could almost be presenting the second instalment of that album and I guess the two would make a perfectly formed double album. Siobhan Kennedy returns, occasionally sounding uncannily like Eliza Carthy, especially on Pony in the Stable, joining much of the Tweedy gang including Jim Elkington and the Cunningham siblings. In playful mood, Thompson closes the album with a homage to some of his own particular guitar heroes, in much the same way Bill Kirchen approached a similar subject in his sprawling version of Commander Cody's Hot Rod Lincoln or Chris Spedding's less adventurous Guitar Jamboree. It's probably every guitarist's responsibility to imitate his heroes every once in a while as long as they know how to handle the material. Thompson can handle the material just fine.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky

Airplay: Guitar Heroes (Show 375/10.05.15)
Airplay: Beatnik Walking (Show 383/05.07.15) 
Release Date: 29.06.15
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