richard thompson

Recent content on Elsewhere by Graham Reid tagged as richard thompson.

JOHN MARTYN'S 1980 ALBUM GRACE AND DANGER: How can you mend a broken heart?

JOHN MARTYN'S 1980 ALBUM GRACE AND DANGER: How can you mend a broken heart?

Like his peer Richard Thompson, with whom he sometimes recorded, Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist Martyn came from a folk background in the mid 60s then incorporate rock gestures into his playing. Unlike Thompson however he also explored jazz deeply and so his guitar playing has a kind of free-ranging, adventurous sound that is...

Richard Thompson: Sweet Warrior (Southbound)

Richard Thompson: Sweet Warrior (Southbound)

At the time of Richard Thompson's excellent Rumour and Sigh album in '97 I decided I'd had enough of hearing how he was a cult figure whose albums never sold: so I did an interview with him (he had a reputation for being earnest but he was chatty on the phone and when I met him in London a few years later he was very chipper) and I ran the story...

Teddy Thompson: Up Front and Down Low ((Verve)

Teddy Thompson: Up Front and Down Low ((Verve)

The son of Richard is now on his third album but for this quietly exceptional album he takes a left-turn from his originals and goes back to the music he grew up with: American country which he grew up listening to at his dad's house. This sensitive collection of classics and little-known covers (and one striking original, Down Low) proves...

Nick Drake: Family Tree (Island/Universal)

Nick Drake: Family Tree (Island/Universal)

There is a very good case to be made that Nick Drake (1948-74) was like a Robert Johnson of British folk, leaving behind a small but compelling body of songs, and few clues to the nature of his inner life. Described by many as a man of few words, and unknowable by others, Drake was only mildly ambitious (in a careerist sense) and his music...

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Few would make the mistake of coming to Anglo-folk legend Thompson for their jollies -- but even the well-prepared might gulp at the melacholy mood in which this is suffused. While the country twangin' foot-tapper Do Your Best For Rock'n Roll includes the promising line "take me to a bar" it ends with "and leave me there to...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008:  Loudon Wainwright: Strange Weirdos (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Loudon Wainwright: Strange Weirdos (Universal)

Longtime cynic, straight-shooter and occasionally misanthropic singer-songwriter Wainwright shows no sign of losing his touch even though he is now in his 60s. His subjects will always provide plenty of material: they are life in general, himself, his family, and sometimes astute socio-political observation. He is a sensitive...

Judith Owen: Happy This Way (Courgette)

Judith Owen: Happy This Way (Courgette)

For Jamie Cullum to call Owen "the female Randy Newman" only tells you wee Jamie needs to be more familiar with Randy. But singer-pianist Owen (married to Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls aka Harry Shearer) does pen a good tune and weaves her literate lyrics through it in way which only the best can -- and the best like Cassandra...

Okkervil River: The Stage Names (UN Spin)

Okkervil River: The Stage Names (UN Spin)

At his most dramatic, OkkRiver singer Will Sheff sounds like a heavily caffeinated Richard Thompson (the ripping opener Our Life is Not A Movie) or Morrissey with a very nasty attitude (on Unless It Kicks which is like a seriously angry Smiths). His voice is pushed to its upper register and he sings with a passion that is rare. That both of...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

This son of Richard and Linda keeps good company: among his friends and fellow travellers are the Wainwrights (Rufus, Martha, and their father Loudon), guitarist Marc Ribot, the Band's Garth Hudson and other hip congnoscenti.His last album Upfront and Down Low was mostly a country covers outing. And despite possessing the same kind of effete...

NEIL FINN INTERVIEWED (2001): Man alone

NEIL FINN INTERVIEWED (2001): Man alone

Neil Finn gives the impression he's happier than he has ever been. This year he's been around the country playing solo shows in small venues with contributions by ring-in local musicians, billing them as the Band of Strangers. Soon he starts a five-night stand at the St James in Auckland with a guest list that includes Eddie Vedder from...

TIM FINN, A TIMELINE (2009): A solo, and sometimes solitary, man

TIM FINN, A TIMELINE (2009): A solo, and sometimes solitary, man

Tim Finn is one of New Zealand's most gifted songwriters. If his long catalogue sometimes lacks the easy pop-rock polish of those songs by his brother Neil (with whom he has frequently written and played) or the sentimentality of Dave Dobbyn's more recent output, that is only to say Tim has gone his own way. From the idiosyncratic and...

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Anyone who considers the Tim Finn timeline would quickly conclude that here was a man who always did it his way: the theatrics and manic energy of Split Enz combined with alarmingly engaging and durable music; solo albums which were sometimes uncomfortable for their self-analysis; others which were snappy and poppy; soundtracks and side-projects...

THE DECEMBERISTS’ JOHN MOEN INTERVIEWED (2009): Marching to his own drum

THE DECEMBERISTS’ JOHN MOEN INTERVIEWED (2009): Marching to his own drum

With all due respect to their craft, drummers aren’t usually the people you want to interview in a band. As saxophonist Branford Marsalis -- who played in Sting’s band -- recently noted, the audience’s attention is on the singer and the guitarist, “the rest of us are just background.” And the drummer -- who...

Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

Damon Albarn has had the more visible profile outside of Blur -- Gorillaz, his Mali Music album, The Good, The Bad and The Queen -- but for the band’s former guitarist Coxon (who left after Think Tank of 03) The Spinning Top is his seventh solo outing and extends his interest in Anglofolk of the Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson...

J Tillman: Year in the Kingdom (Shock)

J Tillman: Year in the Kingdom (Shock)

Possessing the same kind of intimate, engrossing voice of Nick Drake and with an equal interest in hushed, dreamlike ballads where death, and the transitory nature of life and love are themes, Josh Tillman offers his sixth album where the songs are barely fleshed out but the sinew and strength are immediately apparent. With discreet...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Midlake: The Courage of Others (Inertia)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Midlake: The Courage of Others (Inertia)

This quintet from Texas -- now on their third album -- has only appeared once previously at Elsewhere, a wonderful track on the collection Secret Love 4. That piece (the sample track posted with that album) was so impressive their name imprinted itself on my memory -- and then this album turns up. In the absence of hearing much else by them...

Shearwater: The Golden Archipelago (Matador)

Shearwater: The Golden Archipelago (Matador)

The problem as I see it with this sonically fascinating and musically dramatic album is that it lacks a lyric sheet and the poetic words are frequently difficult to distinguish because singer Jonathan Meiburg's vocals are often buried behind those odd instrumentations, or sung in soft high Anglofolk voice which is hard to decipher. Because...

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

Mercury Prize nominated or not, the previous album The Bairns by these Geordies -- then under the name Rachel Unthank and the Winterset -- did not do it for me, and hence didn't get posted at Elsewhere. It sounded far too finger-in-the ear gloom-folk and of marginal interest to anyone outside the English folk circle (and Mercury panels) which...

The Imagined Village: Empire and Love (ECC/Southbound)

The Imagined Village: Empire and Love (ECC/Southbound)

Every now and again the English music press gets infatuated by traditional folk (to make amends for hailing Gay Day and other such rubbish Britrock?) and embarks on a brief essaying of various musicians and artists who would otherwise languish in finger-in-ear folk clubs. The Imagined Village -- a changing line-up of folk and elsewhere...

Steeleye Span: Cam Ye Oer Frae France (1973)

Steeleye Span: Cam Ye Oer Frae France (1973)

As with Fairport Convention (which included Richard Thompson), Steeleye Span were in the vanguard of the British folk-rock movement of the late Sixties. Unlike Fairport however, Steeleye Span didn't move as often and as far from the roots of folk and frequently drew on Francis Child's text The English and Scottish Ballads for inspiration and...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More (Universal)

This four-piece from London may have a banjo on hand and a similar way with an archaic lyric and alt.folk melody as Fleet Foxes, but here on their debut album with widescreen producer Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire's Neon Bible) they bring some dramatic urgency which kicks them clearly into the alt.rock territory. With songs which have a...

The Leisure Society: The Sleeper (Inertia)

The Leisure Society: The Sleeper (Inertia)

There is a lot of neo-folk around and you suspect the success of Fleet Foxes has prompted interest in people like Mumford and Son, the Unthanks and Joanna Newsom. This oddly named British outfit – which suggests an ambient-lounge act – should appeal to an even wider audience. With hints of McCartney at his most pastoral, a...

Ian King: Panic Grass and Fever Few (Wing and a Prayer)

Ian King: Panic Grass and Fever Few (Wing and a Prayer)

King is in the vanguard of a diferent kind of British folk -- witness that this debut album is co-produced with Adrian Sherwood and Skip (Little Axe) McDonald. So this is folk with a world view and a dub feel -- and sounds all the better for it. King is straight out of that earnest, well-enunciated and slightly stern school of vocal delivery,...

Rufus Wainwright: All Days Are Nights; Songs for Lulu (Decca)

Rufus Wainwright: All Days Are Nights; Songs for Lulu (Decca)

It's perhaps enough to note that this is Art Music in which Wainwright sings largely chorus-free, sweeping lyrics over the top of grandiose and often grandiloquent solo piano and addresses the death of his mother Kate (his greatest supporter and critics, he says) and dedicates it to his sister Martha, "the bright lady". This is...

Jeremy Mason: Distorted Vision (self released)

Jeremy Mason: Distorted Vision (self released)

Expat Mason was bassist in the Kiwi punk band Kill the Fake Patient (2005-07) but clearly the Northern Hemisphere has blown a new wind through him: he's now an acoustic/alt.folk singer living in a one bedroom flat in Glasgow and this self-produced EP of songs written in Wellington and London (available here) is the first flickering of a new...

Stornoway: Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD)

Stornoway: Beachcomber's Windowsill (4AD)

Named for a small town in the Outer Hebrides and affecting a kind of folksy pop, Stornoway from Oxford pull light and slightly satirical styles (We Are The Battery Humans with its references to people born to be free-range but preferring to watch television) together with Anglofolk of the Amazing Blondel-to-Fleet Foxes continuum and literary...

NEIL FINN AND CROWDED HOUSE (2010): The returning son

NEIL FINN AND CROWDED HOUSE (2010): The returning son

Many, many years ago Neil Finn told me he believed bands, and he was referring to Split Enz at the time, had a natural lifespan. Some years after that – in 2001 when he was well into a solo career with the album One Nil – I asked him the question again, and specifically if he felt that about Crowded House. His answer was...

Crowded House: Intriguer (Universal)

Crowded House: Intriguer (Universal)

Many years ago, when I interviewed Neil Finn about his solo career (here) post-Crowded House I reminded him that he'd once told me he felt bands had a natural lifespabn. He said at that time he felt CH didn't have quite as long as he wanted . . . which may explain their second coming. This time out, with the same band as for Time on Earth...

THE CHURCH INTERVIEWED (1994): Men keeping the faith

THE CHURCH INTERVIEWED (1994): Men keeping the faith

Fourteen years after springing their classic paisley-pop hit An Unguarded Moment, six years on from picking up an American gold disc for their album Starfish and looking at a back-catalogue of releases that reaches dangerously close to double figures, the Church -- now trimmed back to founder members Steve Kilbey and Marty Willson-Piper...

Mountain Man: Made the Harbor (Spunk)

Mountain Man: Made the Harbor (Spunk)

Here's an unusual and interesting one: Mountain Man are actually three young women Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath from various parts of the great USA who met at Bennington College in Vermont. Inspired by a mutual love of a kind of alt.folk and old time country -- and a cappella singing -- they formed this...

R.E.M.; THE EARLY YEARS: Mumbling into the future

R.E.M.; THE EARLY YEARS: Mumbling into the future

When R.E.M sneaked up in the early 80s with their debut album Murmur, few could have anticipated what the band meant – and would become. Just as Talking Heads had become the banner-waver for emotionally distant New York art-rock a few years previous, R.E.M were the band which announced college rock radio could be as influential as...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Richard Thompson: Dream Attic (Proper)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Richard Thompson: Dream Attic (Proper)

Quite what has enraged the exceptional and much admired English guitarist/songwriter Richard Thompson we can only guess, but let's hope he stays angry because this blistering live album -- of all new material, recorded at various venues in the States -- finds him in top form. With a small band -- guitarist Pete Zorn also pulling out saxes,...

Dylan LeBlanc: Paupers Field (Rough Trade)

Dylan LeBlanc: Paupers Field (Rough Trade)

From the understated openers with their gentle backbeat, soft organ and steel guitar, LeBlanc -- barely 21, out of Louisiana -- announces himself as part of a long lineage which stretches back to the country-soul out of Muscle Shoals studio (where his dad  was a session musician) and the country-rock of the early Band, but which also...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Justin Currie: The Great War (Ryko/Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Justin Currie: The Great War (Ryko/Southbound)

Some of these songs heard at a distance -- just the sharp pop and guitar jangle coming through -- and you'd pin Justin Currie as a smart power pop singer-songwriter who might give the charts some real damage. But my guess is most people don't want emotional pessimism, venomous songs about partners and a seething rage bordering on...

Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh (1991)

Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh (1991)

Like Elvis Costello, Christy Moore, the late John Martyn and a few others in a very select company, English singer/songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson made timeless albums. Pick up any of his from the early Eighties or even the late Seventies and they make as much sense today as they did then. Yet after more than 45 years in the...

Chris Thompson: Chris Thompson (Sunbeam)

Chris Thompson: Chris Thompson (Sunbeam)

Although it is common enough to acclaim great New Zealand bands from the late Sixties/early Seventies -- especially those with an acid-rock tinge -- as never quite getting their due internationally (Human Instinct, Ticket, the Fourmyula etc), the story of folk singer Chris Thompson has rarely been told. I have just the one album by him --...

Chris Thompson: Hamilton (1990)

Chris Thompson: Hamilton (1990)

The reissue of some early Seventies recordings by New Zealand folk-blues singer-songwriter Thompson allowed us to hear again one of the great lost musicians of that era. Thompson's broad spectrum folk style in that period incorporated Indian music influences and black rural blues -- but later on he also delivered a fairly droll line in...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Chris Thompson

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson was one of the disappearing figures in the New Zealand folk scene who toured with Julie Felix, counted among his peers the likes of Bert Jansch and Davy Graham while he was in the UK, and recorded some fine albums which have disappeared into the ether. His has recently released a self-titled double CD of a lost album from the...

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Midlake (LateNightTales/Southbound)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Midlake (LateNightTales/Southbound)

The Late Night Tales mix-tape series continues with this especially interesting and quite lovely collection put together by Midlake who had a Best of Elsewhere 2010 album with The Courage of Others (and were instrumental in John Grant's Queen of Denmark, also a winner that year). The chief feature here -- aside from the coherence of the...

Teddy Thompson: Bella (Verve)

Teddy Thompson: Bella (Verve)

This 35-year old son of famed British folk-rockers Richard and Linda follows his own path. He took his powerful, sensitive voice to excellent originals on his second album Separate Ways in 05, followed it up with an album of country covers Upfront and Down Low (which boasted the stunning sole original in Down Low) then unveiled the...

R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now (Warners)

R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now (Warners)

Thirty years into a career and with this, their 15th studio album, it seems a bit rich for REM bassist Mike Mills to say this one is somehow different with really beautiful slow songs, some nice mid-tempo ones and three or four rockers. That pretty much describes every REM album in the past two decades, and for this one -- despite them...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

A propos of not much, Fleet Foxes' chief songwriter Robin Pecknold recently recorded New Zealand singer-songwriter Chris Thompson's Where is My Wild Rose? for an EP and it appears on You Tube (just with stills) here. But . . . to the matter in hand. If it's fair to say FFoxes' debut album was unexpected, then we might also observe...

The Middle East: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Unspk)

The Middle East: I Want That You Are Always Happy (Unspk)

When a five song EP by this group out of Townsville appeared in '09 Elsewhere erroneously reported they had broken up and mourned their passing. Fortunately we were quickly corrected -- misinformation is easy to find on the internet, huh? -- and so therefore this album has been welcomed. Recorded in Australia and in Midlake's studio in...

R.E.M. LIFES RICH PAGEANT REISSUED (2011): The turning point

R.E.M. LIFES RICH PAGEANT REISSUED (2011): The turning point

When R.E.M. re-signed to Warners for a reported US$80 million in 1996, it was hard to know whether to stifle the gasp or the guffaw. Although that figure bandied about was doubtless inflated and involved complex deals regarding recording, promotion and royalties, it wasn't the number that was so significant. It was what Warners thought...

Richard Thompson: The Folk City Broadcast (Left Field Media)

Richard Thompson: The Folk City Broadcast (Left Field Media)

There seem no half-measures with the legendary English singer-guitarist Richard Thompson. People either “get” him or – despite acclaim as one of Britain's greatest guitarists, the OBE and honorary PhD he received this year, and being credited as founding British folk-rock with Fairport Convention in the early 70s –...

Okkervill River: I Am Very Far (Jajaguwar)

Okkervill River: I Am Very Far (Jajaguwar)

The last appearance of Texas' Okkervil River was them providing emotional support and the musical context for damaged cult figure Roky Erickson on his exceptional, moving True Love Cast Out All Evil. Their singer/songwriter Will Sheff is one of the smartest around (he writes the most extraordinary and emotionally insightful ballads) and...

Tim Finn: The View is Worth The Climb (Universal)

Tim Finn: The View is Worth The Climb (Universal)

Some argue that the best songs emerge from anxiety, emotional dislocation and melancholy -- but more mature songwriters know that not to be true. As Lucinda Williams noted in this interview, it is possible for an artist to conjure up states of mind from experiences. People like Williams -- and Tim Finn -- have a wealth of life experiences to...

Greg Graffin: Cold As The Clay (Anti/Shock)

Greg Graffin: Cold As The Clay (Anti/Shock)

Okay, I'll admit it, I've never heard a note by Bad Religion, the band Graffin usually fronts (and which is regularly described as "punk" and had an album entitled Recipe For Hate). But this stripped back album -- and the fact I've learned that Graffin holds a degree in geology, a PhD in zoology, and taught evolutionary history at...

Various: Rogue's Gallery (Anti/Shock)

Various: Rogue's Gallery (Anti/Shock)

Believe it or not, when I was a kid my dad -- who had spent time at sea and was never happier than when on a ship -- not only played my Beatles and his Louis Armstrong albums with equal enjoyment, but would often bang on a Burl Ives album of sea shanties. My younger sister and I grew up to the sound of him singing, "My father was the...

Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy: Adieu False Heart (Vanguard/Shock)

Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy: Adieu False Heart (Vanguard/Shock)

When was the last time you read a review of a Ronstadt album in New Zealand media? Hmmm That said, I too might have passed over this one if it hadn't been for someone of impeccable taste suggesting I listen to their version of the old Left Banke hit Walk Away Renee here . . . and then I noticed the liner notes thank the people of Breaux...

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