Teddy Thompson ‘Bella’ Album Review

There is no finer interpreter of other people’s songs on the music scene today than Teddy Thompson. There is no finer songwriter or lyricist on the music scene today than Teddy Thompson. Why he isn’t a major star is beyond comprehension: too intelligent for some, too country, folk, or poppy for others, or simply too non-categorizable for those who like to pick their genres and stay in that one place. Whatever the reasons, it’s time to cast them aside and shout-out this man’s talent from every rooftop. He deserves a wide and deep audience.

Thompson, son of folk-rock legends Richard and Linda Thompson, developed his musical drive early in life and launched his first band while still in his early teens. By the time he released his self-titled solo debut in 2000, he’d served a stint in his father’s touring band and contributed guitar and vocals to his dad’s albums You? Me? Us? and Mock Tudor. He subsequently co-produced and played on his mother’s 2002 comeback disc Fashionably Late, and toured as a member of Rosanne Cash’s backing band.

After signing with Verve, he released his widely acclaimed 2006 sophomore album Separate Ways, which demonstrated how much his songwriting, performing and record-making skills had evolved since his debut. It was followed in 2007 by Up Front & Down Low, collection of personally charged readings of classic American country songs that demonstrated Thompson’s increased assurance as a performer and interpreter. 2008’s A Piece of What You Need is a masterpiece of songwriting, arranging and singing, by turns confessional, dark and uplifting.

His new album, Bella, is due out February 8, 2011. We’ve put in our advance order already, and frankly there’s no doubt in our minds that it will be one of the most listenable and well-crafted albums of the year. Teddy Thompson doesn’t disappoint. As we said in our review of his 2008 album, there may come a time when he proves the musical equal of his parents. He’s that good.

Brian Miller

Brian Miller is the Publisher and Editor of Vivascene, which he founded in 2010. A former record store owner, business executive and business writer, he is devoted to vinyl records, classical guitar, and b&w photography.

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