By: Scott Caffrey
Ever since Richard Thompson left Capitol Records in 1999, he's welcomed the new millennium acquiescent to even more musical directions than his already diverse past. In recent times, one of the world's premiere guitarists has finally been recognized as one of its finest troubadours, and not just a founding father of alternative rock.
Every Thompson effort is challenging, in some way. At the ripe age of 58, Sweet Warrior (Shout Factory!) finds him re-conquering rock and getting better with age. Casting folk aside, Warrior roars top-to-bottom, showcasing Thompson's smooth baritone, which shows no signs of wear. The lion's share of the 14 tracks are barnstorming rockers - "I'll Never Give It Up," "Mr. Stupid" and "Bad Monkey" - that work around the saxy ska of "Francesca" and the gorgeous, genteel "Take Care the Road You Choose." Then there's "Dad's Gonna Kill Me" ("Dad" is short for Baghdad here), a dirge rocker told from the perspective of a soldier who knows his certain fate. Thompson offers real crunch to the harder edges and his primo guitar work is deeply set into some of the ballsiest original rock to come along in many a moon.
Backed by longtime collaborators Danny Thompson (double bass), Michael Jerome (drums) and frequent collaborators Judith Owen and Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Thompson works out the mandolin, autoharp, accordion, and organ to paint the scars smooth. Few, if any, have put together such an inspired rock 'n' roll effort.
JamBase | On The Ledge
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