Richard Thompson - Acoustic Classics
The last year is a story of contrasts for one of British folk’s great survivors. Richard Thompson’s fully amped up Electric has now been followed by his completely electricity-free Acoustic Classics, 2014’s yin to 2013’s yang you might say. In it, Thompson has decided to revisit the last 40 years of his life on a collection of self-penned tracks. With nothing but his voice and his guitar it’s a gamble after the excellent reviews that Electric received, yet the delivery simply reinforces the idea of him being one of our most gifted musicians.
In aiming to replicate his acoustic live shows, Thompson has managed to fully realise the picture of a man and his guitar. From the first track (a grooving ‘I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight’) to the last (the powerful, contemplative ‘Dimming Of The Day’), that sea shanty voice and those fast picking fingers are all that's required. The deeper in you go, the more impressive the sexagenarians achievement is. What starts as a reasonably straightforward, if effective, folk album turns special by the time a virtuoso solo on ‘Valerie’ is followed by the simple complexity of ‘Shoot Out The Lights’ and the beautiful ‘Beeswing’. With his daughter one half of upcoming British folk act The Rails and festival spots galore in 2013 and 2014 for himself, Thompson's influence on the British music scene may be more pronounced now than ever. That Acoustic Classics is so accomplished is no surprise. That the 65 year old is only now reaching the pinnacle of his achievements probably is.