Richard Thompson Electric Trio

The Kent Stage Presents:

Richard Thompson Electric Trio

Sun, July 7, 2013

7:00 pm

$36.00 - $46.00

This event is all ages

Richard Thompson Electric Trio
Richard Thompson Electric Trio
Richard Thompson's latest album, Electric, produced by Buddy Miller, comes in what is arguably his most creatively productive period in a career that stretches back some 45 years, back to his emergence as a teen guitarist and songwriter with the groundbreaking Fairport Convention— the band that essentially invented the term "English folk- rock." And that's saying a lot, with his dozens of albums consistently high on critics polls and guitar skills that have earned him a Top 20 spot on Rolling Stone's list of Best Guitarists of All Time.
Richard Thompson's many facets only seem to get more, well, multifaceted.
The album was produced in Nashville by Buddy Miller (Robert Plant's Band of Joy, not to mention his own acclaimed albums both solo and with wife Julie Miller) at his cozy home studio. Miller provides rhythm guitar here and there, Stuart Duncan guests on fiddle, Siobhan Maher Kennedy (of the English band River City People) sings harmonies on five of the songs and the incomparable Alison Krauss duets on the achingly lovely "The Snow Goose."
Thompson terms the Electric material "funk-folk, or folk-funk." But that is to large extent just a matter of economy—and limitations—of language, something he's employed to great effect throughout his career both in lyrics and interviews.
Electric was recorded in concise, largely live sessions at the Miller abode. Miller's role, Thompson says, was "to make the coffee—and do everything else brilliantly. He's such a great musician, and also a great musical associate because he does what's necessary. His ego isn't a factor in making decisions. He'll play rhythm guitar, or nothing. He'll make the most self-effacing suggestions and also has really good ears. Everything he did was complementary to the project."
Throughout, the music conveys the subtle shades and wide range of emotions in the songs as compellingly as the lyrics. At times it echoes classic groups with its power-trio instrumentation. Jerome's drums on "Sally B" (a portrait of a woman of "unbelievable political ambition... so stupid and attractive" that Thompson met at a fundraising event) evoke a bit of the free swing of Mitch Mitchell on the early Jimi Hendrix Experience albums. And the beat leans to the Led Zep thump on "Stuck on a Treadmill." Then "Straight and Narrow" adds a Farfisa-sounding organ for a garage- rocky touch.
Other times there are strong hints of country's British folk roots. The yearning "Where's Home" and the Celtic-country waltz "Saving the Good Stuff for You" spotlight Duncan's fiddle, while "Another Small Thing in Her Favor," Thompson says, reminds him of what Robert Burns did with old Scottish melodies.
And "The Snow Goose," with acoustic fingerpicking and Alison Krauss's heart-breaking harmonies, finds the narrator everything but free as a bird. Thompson, though, acknowledges that he'll take a little heat from some of his fellow birders for the choice of said bird.
"I should apologize to listeners in Canada and the U.S. where the snow goose is a more common bird," he says. "In Britain they are rare. In the lyric it's pale and rare and footloose. The birding community will say, 'You could have picked a tundra swan or something, Siberian warbler.'"
Common bird maybe. Common music, never from Richard Thompson.
Venue Information:
The Kent Stage
175 East Main
Kent, OH, 44240