Posted by Paul at January 29th, 2013

It says something about Richard Thompson that the most beautiful and heartfelt song on his new album is called “My Enemy”. Lyrically he has few peers, but on his new album Electric he puts his plunky string bending guitar in overdrive. The sound is immediate and raw, not too far off from the live sound of his previous album Dream Attic , but more stripped down. “Stony Ground” opens the album with a rousing stomp part Celtic melody, part Hendrix. “Sally B” sounds like a blues power trio at the height of their powers. His now obligatory socially-conscious track “Stuck on the Treadmill” rocks hard and lean. And of course there’s gut-wrenching romantic disillusionment elegantly played with “Another Small Thing in her Favour”. All with his loose cannon guitar work front and center. He adds a haunting acoustic track, “Snow Goose” with Alison Krauss harmonizing, just because he can. Thompson was in his 30s when I discovered him, a British transplant, already with a long career under his belt. Now in his 60s, he remains on the cutting ege while still being roots-based and lyrically clever, no small feats.

Click here to hear the entire album on npr.org for a limited time

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