With Jeff Tweedy at the production helm, Richard Thompson’s latest album proves that he’s got plenty of great music left
or his latest release Richard Thompson recruited Jeff Tweedy as his producer. Relocating to the Wilco frontman’s Chicago rehearsal space he laid down the twelve songs over the course of nine days. The resulting album is Still, a title which seems both wildly inappropriate and oddly fitting.
The characters in Thompson’s songs are rarely still; they long to be free and refuse life’s shackles. These themes are immediately apparent on the opening pair of tracks She Never Could Resist A Winding Road and Beatnik Walking, with a lead protagonist in the former who “never could stay any place too long”. Just as the subjects of his songs are constantly roaming so is his unequalled guitar work as it glides through a song like Josephine, before ramping it up on the Celtic rocker Long John Silver.
But then again, on Dungeons For Eyes, Thompson is still wrestling with his political conscience and with Pony In The Stable he is revitalising traditional British folk music and keeping the genre very much alive, as he always has. The continuity doesn’t stop there; Thompson’s peerless guitar work is a constant thread throughout his music and, on the album closing Guitar Heroes, he takes a mesmerising walk down memory lane to pay homage to all his fellow pluckers.
Putting argument about the album’s title to one side, something that needs no debating is that this is an album packed with great songs and one that builds on the foundations laid by 2013’s Electric. Tweedy’s production is subtly effective and leaves plenty of room for Thompson to flourish. This is the sound of a genuine master at work, still.
Verdict: Everything you could hope for from a Richard Thompson record
Take a behind the scenes look at the making of Still with producer Jeff Tweedy at Wilco’s The Loft Studio in Chicago…