Magazine article The New Yorker

Thompson, Gunning

Magazine article The New Yorker

Thompson, Gunning

Article excerpt

Richard Thompson has been turning out literate, moody, spiky albums for four decades, three on his own and a decade before that in partnership with his wife, Linda. There are so many highlights in his catalogue ("Shoot Out the Lights," "Hand of Kindness," "Amnesia," "Mock Tudor") that sometimes it seems as though it would be easier to identify the lowlights (the muddled double album "You? Me? Us?"). But Thompson can come to seem like an assembly line, though one of high quality: his lachrymose vocals and virtuosic guitar playing can occasionally render his albums exercises in expertise rather than flesh-and-blood art.

"Dream Attic" (Shout! Factory), Thompson's new album, doesn't have that problem. For starters, Thompson chose to record his material in front of an audience at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall. The result isn't a live album, exactly--the crowd isn't audible, and there's not much of his mordant between-song patter--but, rather, a living one. …

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