"1000 YEARS OF POPULAR MUSIC"

"Grizzly Man" Soundtrack composed and performed by Richard Thompson Irish Release Released September 30th 2005

Front Parlour Ballads (Cooking Vinyl) Irish Release 5th August 2005

The Old Kit Bag" enters US Billboard Top 200 at # 121
Richard Thompson “The Old Kit Bag” (COOKCD251)
 
 
 
 
RICHARD THOMPSON
"1000 YEARS OF POPULAR MUSIC"
DVD RELEASE
Irish Release 23rd June on Cooking Vinyl
Cooking Vinyl are scheduled to release a special DVD (with 2 bonus audio CDs) in Ireland on June 23rd which brilliantly captures Richard Thompson's 1000 Years Of Popular Music project. The DVD runs at 106 minutes and is presented in 16:9 widescreen and was filmed at a live concert at Bimbo's in San Francisco in 2005. In addition to the DVD the audio version of the concert is incorporated in the lavish book-style package on two additional cds.

The 1000 Years Of Popular Music concerts which Richard has been performing periodically for the last three years do exactly what it says on the tin; accompanied by Judith Owen (keyboards/vocals) and Deborah Dobkin (percussion/vocals), they literally present a musical survey of the popular music of the last 1000 years.

There are 22 songs commencing with Sumer Is Icumen In which dates from c1260 and proceeds through the centuries to the present day. Along the way, Richard performs songs from the coal fields of North East England; the British Music Hall; The Mikado; Cole Porter; Hank Cochran; to The Kinks See My Friends and Squeeze's Tempted. He brings things right through to the present day with a unique take on Britney's Oops!...I Did It Again.

::: Richard will be playing Two Solo Shows in Ireland this summer :::

Wed, 26 July 2006 ~ Galway, The Galway Arts Festival

Thu, 27 July 2006 ~ Dublin, Vicar Street

 
 
 
 
Richard Thompson

"Grizzly Man"
Soundtrack composed and performed by Richard Thompson

Irish Release Released September 30th 2005

Cooking Vinyl is set to release Richard Thompson’s soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s new film ‘Grizzly Man’ on September 30th. The film, as yet, has no confirmed European release but opened to critical acclaim and the highest per-screen gross of any new movie in limited release in the US in its first weekend, August 12th to 14th, 2005.

The film chronicles the life and death by bear attack of naturalist and film maker Timothy Treadwell and it is the film itself that inspired the music. Herzog requested that the music not be scored in advance as is customary, the soundtrack the result of a collective improvisation recorded over two days in December 2004.

Recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, the soundtrack recording marks a close collaboration between Richard Thompson, session producer Henry Kaiser and Herzog himself who supervised the sessions, directed them almost, in the way he would a film.

The musicians themselves had never played together as an ensemble and comprised:

Richard Thompson: guitar, bass
Danielle De Gruttola: cello
Damon Smith: acoustic bass
Jim O’Rourke: piano, guitar
John Hanes: drums, percussion

http://www.lionsgatepublicity.com/epk/grizzly/index.html

Richard Thompson’s recent album for Cooking Vinyl, Front Parlour Ballads (COOKCD325), has garnered an astonishing array of critical praise:

“Sombre, witty, timeless, nostalgic and utterly English, all of Thompson’s sterling qualities as a songwriter seem to swell at once on this album.” – Uncut, Album of the Month *****

“One of the great English Songwriters” – The Guardian, CD of the Week ****

“A beautiful, intelligent album with incisive lyrics and haunting folky melodies. The more you listen to it the more its quiet power unfolds.” – The Sun ****

Independent ****

Mojo ****

 

 
 
 
 
RICHARD THOMPSON

Front Parlour Ballads
(Cooking Vinyl)

Irish Release 5th August 2005

During his four decades of music making, Richard Thompson has been set upon by a fiercely loyal and singularly attentive constituency—aficionados for whom every nuance in Thompson’s oeuvre, from his choice of a particular word to the fret on which his fingers alight at any given moment carries some degree of significance (for bountiful evidence, take a look at the interaction between fans and artist on richardthompson-music.com, his delightful website). So it’s fair to say that those fans have a treat in store with Front Parlour Ballads, Thompson’s second album with Cooking Vinyl following 2003’s The Old Kit Bag. It’s his first solo acoustic effort since 1981’s Strict Tempo! and the first-ever acoustic studio album of original songs in his extensive discography.

Encompassing everything from rollicking tales of quickie marriages in “Let it Blow,” a lilting love song dedicated to “Miss Patsy,” a metaphorical voyage through the rough seas of the big-time music business in “Row, Boys, Row” and the devastatingly beautiful lament of “Precious One,” Front Parlour Ballads is a treasure box of stories and characters, all delivered with Thompson's masterful guitar work, sonorous voice and bittersweet lyrics. Many of these songs were written in one of their author’s intermittent thematic bursts, and they all insisted on being together, so Thompson, the father of scores of songs as well as five biological offspring, knew enough about how these things work to arrange a play date.

“The production on this record is the kind of thing the audience actually asks for,” Thompson explains. “They ask for simple; they don’t want the frills in the way. They don’t want the glossy, hi-fi production—they wouldn’t know what to do with it. They want to hear the squeaks of fingers on strings and, dare I say, the cock-ups. So that’s what they’re gonna get.”

It should be pointed out at this juncture that the term “solo” in reference to the recording in question is absolutely literal. These performances were laid down in Thompson’s home studio, situated in the garage of his home in Los Angeles, with nary another soul in the vicinity; he simply pressed RECORD and commenced to emote into the microphone, accompanying himself on his trusty wooden guitar. On some of the tracks he overdubbed a second acoustic, making for a rich textural filigree; on others he added electric bass, mandolin and/or accordion. He brought in percussionist Debra Dobkin (Bonnie Raitt, Was/Not Was, Thompson’s own 1000 Years of Popular Music) to bang rhythmically on various handy objects for the album’s two rockin’ ringers, “Let It Blow” and “My Soul, My Soul,” on which his muse, apparently in a party mood, compelled him to plug in his electric and make some noise, “front parlour” and “ballads” be damned. On the remaining 11 numbers, however, your host and his muse are on their best behavior.

Of his solitary approach to Front Parlour Ballads, Thompson says, “There’s a danger with that method that you get too confessional or too introverted in your style of delivery, so I had to be aware of that. Because I’ve heard home recordings where it’s all projected to about two inches in front of their nose, and somehow that’s not quite enough. So I learned to project 10 feet away—through the wall into the next room,” he quips. “I think if you concentrate on telling the story, you don’t really have time to think about much else. You want to get inside the story, inside the song.

“Bearing that in mind, it was a nice thing because I didn’t really think about it. I just thought, ‘Oh, well, I’ll just go in and see if the equipment works. And while I’m doing that, I’ll just put something down and see what happens. Well, that sounds OK—let me just overdub another guitar so I can learn how to overdub with this particular hardware.’ And then things just got done. It was nice to think, ‘Oh, I’ve got an hour before I go out—I’ll just go and record something.’ So it was done very casually.”

When it’s pointed out that the album might more accurately be titled Garage Ballads, Thompson replies, “I suppose so. I was just trying to get a nicer picture in people’s minds than me sitting among the propane tanks and whatever else is back there.”

No artist to emerge in the second half of the ’60s—a remarkably bountiful period—has gone on to have a more productive and vital career than Thompson. While still a teenager, the protagonist of this piece founded and led Fairport Convention, which was to British folk-rock what the Byrds were to the idiom’s American equivalent—meaning more Childe ballads and less sunshine. Thompson’s solo albums, beginning with 1972’s Henry the Human Fly, reveal an artist of unparalleled dimension who has followed his muse as boldly as fellow iconoclast Neil Young. The series of albums Thompson recorded during the 1970s and early ’80s with his then-wife Linda, including the exquisite Pour Down Like Silver and culminating in the devastating Shoot Out the Lights, charted the ups and downs of a relationship with unstinting candor. His vast and ever-growing body of original material is marked by consistent intelligence, taste and emotional purity—which is why so many of his songs have been covered by other quality artists, a stellar list that includes the likes of Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Del McCoury, Graham Nash, X, Los Lobos and Bob Mould. And Thompson is among the most distinctive of guitar virtuosos, capable of breathtaking drama and sublime delicacy, depending on the song and the amp setting, if indeed an amp happens to be employed.

Thompson is in the midst of a whirlwind of activity, with his 2005 projects encompassing three performance documents—Live in Providence (a 2003 band recording on DVD; Cooking Vinyl), Austin City Limits (CD and DVD from 2001; New West) and 1000 Years of Popular Music (CD and DVD from 2005; Cooking Vinyl)—the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s film Grizzly Man and a five-disc box set containing classics and unreleased tracks (Free Reed Records and Music). What keeps him going? “It’s just a drive—you’re driven to do it,” Thompson says. “If you’re not driven, maybe you shouldn’t bother. If you haven’t written a song for a couple of weeks, you get itchy—you start twitching. You have to get it out there, whatever it is. I’ve been twitching for 40 years…which is great. It’s wonderful to still be enthusiastic about what is basically one’s employment, and to have been that way all the way through. I still guiltily look over my shoulder sometimes, thinking, ‘This is too much fun.’”

 
 
 
 

RICHARD THOMPSON

"The Old Kit Bag" enters US Billboard Top 200 at # 121 selling more than twice the quantity of Robbie Williams new release

Released by Cooking Vinyl in the UK last February, Richard Thompson's latest album, 'The Old Kit Bag' saw him acclaimed once again as "a true English original" (The Guardian) and 'one of the greatest songwriters and guitarists this country has ever produced' (The Independent). The Sunday Times described it as "his best LP in nearly a decade.

Released on May 6th in the USA by Cooking Vinyl/Spin Art and charting at 121 in the Billboard Top 200. 'The Old Kit Bag' sold 10,000 copies in the first week, comfortably outselling 'Mock Tudor', his final album for Capitol in 1999 and, incidentally, selling more than twice the quantity of Robbie Williams' current album in the States. Not bad for a man twice Robbie Williams' age.

The veteran troubadour is most pleased with his new 'independent' association:

"It's nice to feel that there's some kind of partnership - as opposed to being a sharecropper as Courtney Love says," Thompson notes. "I've had a great time on major labels but they are less and less able to market the way they used to - and that's the point of them. And recording deals are increasingly archaic."

Thompson's deal with Cooking Vinyl is a "one album at a time" and profit-sharing partnership. It is a joint venture between the UK based Cooking Vinyl and the US indie SpinArt.

Already the esteemed singer/songwriter/guitarist¹s most successful album overseas in a decade, this showing for 'The Old Kit Bag' also marks the first time ever that either UK-based Cooking Vinyl Records or its US joint
venture partner SpinArt have garnered a top 200 album.

 
 
 
  Richard Thompson “The Old Kit Bag” (COOKCD251)
Irish Released January 31, 2003


He's already achieved more as a songwriter and instrumentalist than most musicians could do in a lifetime. His sound is familiar, with ties to practically every Western genre and many that lie beyond our horizons, yet also unlike anything else you've ever heard. His colleagues, ranging back to Jimi Hendrix and up to today's young giants, unify through time in admiration of his accomplishments.

And so it is hardly surprising that Richard Thompson, nonpareil guitarist and perceptive observer of life's persistent ironies, has produced another masterpiece -- The Old Kit Bag, scheduled for release in Spring of 2003 by iMUSIC.

What's perhaps most remarkable about this album -- by one reckoning, his twenty-fifth, without even counting the six he recorded as a member of Fairport Convention -- is its distillation of all that precedes it in his catalog. For more than thirty years Thompson has grown as an artist by carefully paring his work down to its essence. As a culmination of this process, Kit Bag, recorded in spare trio format with minimal overdubs, is a textbook lesson on how to convey layers of meaning with minimal gestures.

More than that, and more to the point, it's an offering to listeners who appreciate music that's rich on substance and stripped of glitz. Kit Bag opens like a pocketbook filled with gems: images of innocence lost among tombstones on Gethsemane, of distant love remembered on A Love You Can't Survive, and demons unleashed by ignorance on Outside of the Inside, and lyrics -- war whoops and secrets under the trees, estuary smells coming up on the breeze, perfect, endless days like these -- that glitter and spill like diamonds over velvet.

Taken as a whole, Kit Bag is a jumble of brilliant bits written over these past two years. When asked if a central theme ties them all together, Thompson seems nonplussed. Um … no, he admits. Then, helpful gentleman that he is, he adds, I suppose the title is a theme of sorts. It's a reference to the old World War I song, 'Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag,' which is about smiling and whistling a happy tune as the Germans rain shells down on you.

Admittedly, this is a stretch. But there is a musical continuity to Kit Bag, in the eloquent interplay between Thompson's vocals and string parts, the acoustic bass lines of Danny Thompson, and the drumming of Michael Jerome. (Singer Judith Owen, who guested on Thompson's previous album, Mock Tudor, contributes backup harmonies on several tracks.) The idea was to keep it small, Thompson explains. I did do a few overdubs -- second guitar, dulcimer, single-finger keyboard parts, all the easy stuff -- but other than that, everything was pretty much a live performance.

The result is an intimate, smoky quality from which each story slowly unfolds. Producer John Chelew (John Hiatt, Five Blind Boys of Alabama), a master of bringing out the narrative in excellent songs, found the balance between clarity and atmosphere on these tracks, making Kit Bag a standout even in Thompson's imposing discography.

Thompson's sensitivities were evident as far back as the '60s. Even then, in his father's Fats Waller albums, in early hints of Middle Eastern music and the first washes of psychedelic rock washing over from the New World, Thompson recognized something universal and wondered why no one else could hear how it all might fit together.
I've always had a problem, growing up in London around a British folk tradition but also listening to rock and roll and not finding anyone who was playing the music I really wanted to hear, he says. Really, what I wanted to hear didn't exist, so it was necessary for me to go out and create it.

The mission began at age 17, when Thompson co-founded Fairport Convention, the seminal folk-rock band whose significance only grows more apparent with time. In 1968 they recorded their eponymous debut, whose fusion of folk elements with rock energy inspired a generation of British musicians in a manner often compared to that of the Band in North America. After just two years, however, Thompson left to begin the journey he continues to this day, as a solo artist in pursuit of his own unique insights.

The milestones have been many: Henry the Human Fly (1972), marking Thompson's emergence as a distinctive singer; I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974), the first of six acclaimed collaborations with his first wife, Linda Peters; First Light (1978), whose exotic flavorings nod toward Richard's and Linda's embrace of Islam; Strict Tempo! (1981), an instrumental project nourished by folk and jazz, complete with a string arrangement of Duke Ellington's Rockin' in Rhythm Shoot Out the Lights (1982), his last collaboration with Linda, hailed now by Rolling Stone as one of the ten best albums of the '80s; Hand of Kindness (1983), an exuberant exploration of the big-band aesthetic; Amnesia (1988), Rumor and Sigh (1991), and Mirror Blue (1994), each reflecting Thompson's interest in exploring new approaches to studio production.

Through this work, as well as his guest appearances on albums by performers as diverse as the Cajun band Beausoleil, blues doyenne Bonnie Raitt, New Zealand pub-rockers Crowded House, and avant-guitarist Henry Kaiser, Thompson built a sterling reputation among his peers as a player and composer.

Beat the Retreat, a tribute album featured covers of Thompson's songs by such diverse artists as REM, Los Lobos, Bob Mould, X, and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama. John Mellencamp spoke for many of Thompson's admirers in admitting that Richard Thompson could say more in one line than I could in a whole song.

With Kit Bag, the time may have finally arrived for Thompson to receive that same level of recognition from the public at large. The major labels have been concentrating almost exclusively on Top 40, he muses, but now they're in crisis. The industry is changing. Different strata are appearing. Slowly but surely, audiences will find it easier to find the music they really want to hear.

For many, that search will lead them to Kit Bag and, through it, to Richard Thompson, whose own quest for excellence is long underway and yet far from over.

For more information contact:
Stevo Berube at Berube Communications on (01) 476 3603 or 087 244 2695 stevo@berubecommunications.com

 
 
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