The master of British folk music has weathered a second divorce and lives in the US where Trump has ramped up bigotry considerably. At least ex-wife Linda has forgiven him
Richard Thompson is drinking mint tea in a Hampstead coffee shop he doesnt touch coffee or alcohol and between Islam and cricket, hes discussing the remarkable guest list for his upcoming 70th birthday celebration at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I dont like being the centre of attention, strange as it sounds, he insists. I just want to have a few friends over.
The man the LA Times once hailed as the finest rock songwriter after Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix will switch between electric and acoustic guitars, and hopes that most guests will have time to do a couple of songs. The 15 guests will include Pink Floyd hero David Gilmour, who has featured alongside Richard in a Rolling Stone magazine best ever guitarist list, and who, as a soloist, covered Richards 1975 song Dimming of the Day. Hell do that, says Richard. And then do something of his or Floyds. He has always been a nice guy and we share a love of all things Fender.
The cast will also include old and new British folk heroes, from Martin and Eliza Carthy to Olivia Chaney. And then there will be Harry Shearer, the American actor and comedian, reviving his role as Derek Smalls from Spinal Tap, along with his wife Judith Owen who joined Richard in 2006 for the 1,000 Years of Popular Music project, in which they reworked anything from Sumer Is Icumen In to Britney Spears.
Richard Thompson may be a virtuoso guitarist, but he insists that its the songs that are most important to him. Most of what I do revolves around the song. If I play guitar, Im not interested in playing instrumentals. I like playing guitar to accompany a voice, or if there is a solo, then extending the narrative of the song. So are his thrilling, spontaneous-sounding acoustic or electric guitar solos inspired by the song? Yes, its that way round. Absolutely.