Richard Thompson: Still

Venerable folk doyen on lively form.

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In a valiant quest to stop himself from going stale, Richard Thompson has been seeking a little outside help of late. 2013’s Electric was produced by Buddy Miller in the latter’s Nashville studio and was a stripped-to-basics affair. This follow-up retains that album’s core trio and finds Jeff Tweedy at the helm for a sprightly bunch of songs recorded in just over a week at the Wilco man’s lair in Chicago.

It’s a smart move that’s clearly paid off, Thompson’s nimble folk-rock stylings enhanced by subtle shifts of atmosphere and the discreet use of Tweedy’s box of effects.

The muted, off-centre Broken Doll is a case in point, as is the airy blues groove of All Buttoned Up. The latter, about a frustrated gent with a less than frolicsome other half, finds Thompson in unusually playful mood. As does mini-epic Guitar Heroes, a formative slice of autobiography that sees him mimic Les Paul, James Burton and Hank Marvin.

However, the best moments here find Thompson more restrained, particularly the sinuous, fingerpicked beauty of Beatnik Walking and the rueful, all-acoustic Josephine./o:p

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.