Richard Thomspon brings five decades of Music to the Wilma
(Missoula Current) Named by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association of Nashville, and the OBE from Queen Elizabeth II, Richard Thompson's career has spanned nearly 60 years, and he is still producing new works and touring solo.
Thompson's long career began in 1967 when, along with Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchings and Martin Lamble, he formed the folk-rock band Fairport Convention in London. This was an era when the Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and others were transforming folk music by infusing the genera with rock.
By 1968 the band brought in Sandy Denny on vocals. Denny's vocal range as well as song writing talent and intense interest in British folk traditions influenced the band to move in the direction of traditional British music, creating a new sound with greater rock beats.
The next two albums the group recorded, “What We Did on Our Holidays” and “Unhalfbricking,” saw one of the first times a traditional British song, 'A Sailor's Life' was played as a rock song.
Thompson grew as a song writer during this period and produced many of the songs that Fairport Convention is known for. In addition to the two albums, they recorded a third album in 1969 “Liefe and Lief.”
He described on the Wilma stage how in 1969 there was an old hotel that had been abandoned and taken over by some young people. The police subsequently raided and rather brutally evicted the 'hippies.'
This inspired Thompson to write 'Genesis Hall.' I have listened to this song numerous times over the years, always hearing the voice of Sandy Denny delivering the lyrics. To hear Richard Thompson's voice, which is rawer than Denny's vocal brilliance, made the message of the lyrics more relevant to the current homeless situation.
Richard Thompson to this day writes of the human condition and his words are timeless.
Missoula's own Wolfe and Moons opened for the concert. This band is Mike Wolfe and Angela Dailey. They are both music teachers in the schools and have since 2014 performed Americana originals that Wolfe has written.