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Tuesday, 19 March 2013 11:06

Charting the Music: Richard Thompson, 'Electric'

Charting the Music: Richard Thompson, 'Electric' / Pamela Littky
Written by Travis Dettmann
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After four days in producer/guitarist Buddy Miller's home recording studio in Nashville, Tenn., Richard Thompson emerged with "Electric." The folk-rock maestro is far from being stuck on the treadmill, no matter what he says.

Showing no signs of fatigue, Thompson blends the finer elements of Nashville along with his signature wit on his 14th solo studio release.

88.1 KDHX Chart Position: #3 Americana and #4 CMJ Top 30 for the week of March 5, 2013.

Record label, release date and producer: New West Records released "Electric" on February 5, 2013; the album was produced by Buddy Miller.

Can be heard on: Pop! The Beat Bubble Burst with Rich Reese, Backroads with Stacy and Sound Salvation with Steve Pick.

RIYL: Bob Mould, John Hiatt and Van Morrison.

Hometown: London, England.

Standout tracks: Richard Thompson covers the bluesy subject of jealousy in "Good Things Happen to Bad People." One can relate to the relationships gone sour with "Another Small Thing in Her Favour." Through thick and thin, Thompson acoustically reminisces in "Saving the Good Stuff for You."

About the artist: On April 3, 1949, Richard Thompson was born in Notting Hill in London, England. He joined Fairport Convention as a guitarist and vocalist from 1967 through 1971, leaving to focus on a solo career. He met singer Linda Peters who appeared on his first solo record, "Henry the Human Fly." Peters later traded her last name for Thompson and recorded six albums with her husband until they separated. Richard Thompson has continued to perform and release albums, both in a purely solo setting and backed by various musicians.

About the producer: Buddy Miller is an accomplished producer, Americana singer and songwriter, originally from Fairborn, Ohio. Earlier in his career as an acoustic guitarist, he traveled across America until he relocated to New York City, where he founded the Buddy Miller Band with vocalist and guitarist Shawn Colvin. Miller has produced and handled guitar duties for artists such as Emmylou Harris, Jim Lauderdale and Robert Plant. He currently resides with his wife, country artist Julie Miller, in Nashville, Tenn.

This label: Before founding New West Records, Cameron Strang received a degree in law from the University of British Columbia Law School. In Vancouver, he worked as an attorney, but walked away due to some major life-changing events. In the mid '90s, Strang launched New West Records: Billy Joe Shaver, Bocephus King, Jon Dee Graham and Stephen Bruton were the first four artists to join the roster. Now with offices in Austin, Los Angeles and Athens, artists such as Buffalo Tom, Dwight Yoakam and John Hiatt have released records on the indie imprint.

Play it while: Exiting your regular 9 to 5 for the long trip back home.

Awards and accolades: Richard Thompson is no stranger to the Billboard charts. Nine of his albums have been on the Billboard 200 with "Electric" peaking at 75. Many of those albums have also been on the following charts: Heatseekers, Top Internet Albums, Top Independent Albums and Top Rock Albums. In 2011, Thompson was selected as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen.

What the critics say: "Delicate phrasing, with both voice and guitar, has always made Richard Thompson a musician worth hearing -- and sometimes even liking on a personal level. For a man who can make such pretty music, it's to his credit that he prefers to show his thorny, stubborn, cranky, even mean side in many of the songs in his solo career. Indeed, ever since going through a now three-decades-old divorce from Linda Thompson - after they made their masterpiece of their career, 1982's "Shoot Out the Lights" - Richard Thompson's songwriting has returned again and again to his, shall we say, complex relationships with women." Ken Tucker, NPR.

KDHX coverage: Richard Thompson performed at the Peabody Opera House on March 17, 2013 with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. Kris Embry reviewed the KDHX-welcomed show.

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