Folk rock pioneer Richard Thompson sings more about mortality and loss | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Music » Concert Preview

Folk rock pioneer Richard Thompson sings more about mortality and loss


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Fifty years have passed since Fairport Convention released their self-titled first album, a charmingly eclectic mishmosh of earnest pop tunes and American singer-songwriter covers enlivened by an astonishingly dexterous teenage guitarist named Richard Thompson. Over the next few years, Fairport evolved into the flagship band of English folk rock, and their guitarist forged his disparate influences—first-generation rock 'n' roll, Scottish bagpipe tunes, modal improvisations pioneered by John Coltrane—into an instantly recognizable instrumental voice. After leaving Fairport in 1971, he recorded six albums with his wife, singer Linda Thompson, over the next decade, which established him as a nonpareil songwriter equally at home with black humor and spiritually infused romantic longing. Since splitting with Linda in 1983, Thompson has turned his bottomless bag of great songs, astounding licks, and dry, sidesplitting repartee into one of the most reliable live shows in rock 'n' roll. The protagonists of the songs on September’s 13 Rivers (New West) are driven by a sense that their clocks are running out, while they’re bluffing their way through personal doubt and dysfunctional relationships. But Thompson’s fiery playing and the slickly assertive backing from his long-standing Electric Trio turn bummers into defiantly rollicking blowouts.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment