Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue

Reviews > CDs

Published: 2010/11/15
by Gregg Morris

Richard Thompson
Dream Attic

Shout Factory!

It’s hard to figure the lack of American commercial success for Richard Thompson. I have heard him describe it as, “a bit unlucky” or “laziness on our (R.Thompson’s band) part.” Not touring when they should have, not caring to make the same record twice, and no self-promotion seem like excuses filed by record executives. For the record, Richard Thompson’s songwriter peers include the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Leonard Cohen and the British teams of Lennon/McCartney and Jagger/Richards. You may think that’s quite an elite class, but finding guitar player contemporaries is an even tougher assignment. His membership to Rolling Stone’s top 20 guitarists of all time list solidifies him as another critically acclaimed/commercially overlooked artist.

Richard Thompson is one of those rare musicians whose talent has only matured with age. Thompson began his career in his teens, songwriting and playing guitar with the Fairport Convention. Still in his teens, he left to embark on a solo career and began to make the first of over forty albums, including solo and duo work with his wife (at the time) Linda. The list of accolades is long and distinguished, including a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award. His 20+ years as a solo artist has culminated with a who’s who list of artists that have covered his songs, including Bonnie Raitt, David Byrne, Los Lobos, Elvis Costello and Del McCoury. This year he assumed the position of Artistic Director for London’s Meltdown Festival.

Dream Attic is Richard Thompson’s latest release in what seems to be a never-ending attempt to show the world who is the top living songwriter/guitarist. Because of his love for live performance over the grind of studio time, Dream Attic delivers 13 new songs in a live setting, mostly taken from performances at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall. By focusing on the energy of performing in front of fans, instead of the studio sheen, Thompson’s songwriting message and guitar playing are brought to the forefront of the listener’s pleasure. The Black Crowes used this same approach in recording Before the Frost…Until the Freeze at Levon Helm’s Barn. It is also a comfort to know that none of the songs were cut to fit in the, “radio friendly format.”

The undeniable chemistry between Thompson and one of the most accomplished bands of his career (Michael Jerome on drums, Taras Prodaniuk on bass, multi-instrumentalist Pete Zorn, and Joel Zifkin on electric violin and mandolin) shined through in each of his seven West Coast shows. Richard Thompson’s idea that, “it’s only when musicians play in front of an audience that something interesting happens”, certainly holds true in these best of the best recordings from the tour.

All of the tracks have the unmistakable Richard Thompson sound, with his deep Scottish vocals and impeccable guitar work. Beginning with his commentary on the financial meltdown, “The Money Shuffle” shows the band’s rockin’ side right off the bat. “Among the Gorse, Among the Grey” is a beautiful British Isles ballad that could easily be interpreted as his feelings for the record industry. The vision of what the world does to dreamers is laid out as Thompson sings, “...they sucked the joy from his beating heart, washed his eyes with rue. Now come, they said, come to the world we made for you.” “Haul Me Up” brings back the steady rockin’ beat and provides an excellent example of Richard Thompson’s musical prowess. Just as the listener begins to relate to the thoughtful lyrics of a soul’s yearning, Thompson shreds through a solo with ease and then back to the call for help.

The rest of the ballads on “Dream Attic” expertly deal with the honesty of day to day life, complete with love (“If Love Whispers Your Name”), loss (“Stumble On”, “A Brother Slips Away” and uncomfortable situations (“Burning Man”, “Crimescene”, “Big Sun Falling in the River”).

What Richard Thompson album would be complete without classic Celtic stories and traditional instruments such as the Periwhistle? The Celtic version of “You’re so Vain” is brought out in “Here Comes Geordie” as Thompson sings, “Girls all love him, think he is the end. Boys all say, the mirror’s his best friend.” “Demons in Her Dancing Shoes” provides a great contrast between the love of his life and the rough Chapel Street. In the vain of “Long Black Veil”, “Sidney Wells” is a classic blues/celtic story of Sidney Wells killing of Cheryl; complete with a murder, trial and conviction.

While Dream Attic may not be the most innovative or breathtaking album from Richard Thompson, it is still head and shoulders above most of the albums being released today. There’s also a deluxe version of the album available, with all acoustic versions of the tracks. The acoustic songs are strong enough to hold up on their own, however, the main album provides the energy and atmosphere the songs richly deserve. No matter the format, “Dream Attic” is an album showcasing a man whose prolific songwriting career is overshadowed only by his incredible guitar talent.


There are 2 comments associated with this post

coach outlet November 18, 2010, 05:40:54

Coach Brand is a leading American designer and maker of luxury lifestyle handbags and accessories. We are coach outlet store, on our website, coach handbags, coach purses and other accessories are provided. All the items are in high-quality, but cheap price. Each coach handbags and coach purses is full of personality; no other two are the same. With these outstanding coach handbags and coach purses, you may attract more attentions. Details decide whole things. Anyhow, your satisfaction is what we account.
Coach Outlet, Coach Handbags, Reliable and professional website for coach purses and coach handbags outlet, Free Shipping! Our customers will always receive the highest quality coach product when ordering with us. Our inventory list is frequently updated to offer our customers with the season’s hottest items. However, when you see something you like, there’s no guarantee it will be available on your next visit!
If you need any assistance in selecting an item or choosing an alternate, please feel free to email our professional customer service team or make a phone call. Our team is on task to answer all of your questions and serve you with expertise.
Enjoy shopping on!

louis vuitton outlet March 11, 2011, 21:16:31

Winter is on the way, so the the louis vuitton outlet that sold in the louis vuitton stores. Definiely these louis vuitton outlet store that are considered as the luxurious bags that the wealth women that carry. Such bags that would improve your status as well as the fashion appearance. What’s more, you can find the louis vuitton on sale that promted in all the bags. And nowadays that louis vuitton outlet that leads the bags industry. Based on the fact that louis vuitton stores that continue to release more and more appealing bags for all of us. When people talk about the belts scarver accessories they also know the sofia coppola and louis vuitton that are designed with top quality as well as the fashion element that appealing which add the popularity to the bags.

Note: It may take a moment for your post to appear

(required) (required, not public)