The Teddy Thompson Interview

Teddy Thompson’s new album My Love of Country is due out in a few days and the early auditions make for compelling listening. We were privileged to be granted an exclusive interview with this talented singer-songwriter,

Vivascene:  Congratulations on the new album My Love of Country. The title expresses your dedication for the great country singers and songwriters from the 1950s and ‘60s. How did this love of country music happen for you?

Teddy: I blame the parents. I became enamored of American country and pop music from the ‘50s via my dad’s cassette tapes in the car. It began with The Everlys, and then on to Buddy Holly and Hank Williams.

V:  How did you go about choosing the material for the new record?

T: Some of the songs I knew very well; quite a few are obviously big hits. The others I searched for. A most enjoyable search. 

V: What was like to perform duets with fellows like Vince Gill and Rodney Crowell?

T: Would you believe I haven’t met them yet? This was recorded during the pandemic, so all the harmony singers sent in their parts. That it sounds so cohesive is a testament to great singers and a great producer, David Mansfield. 

V: You cover Don Everly’s song “Oh What A Feeling” on your new record.  The Everly Brothers made some of the greatest records: what is it about their music that speaks to you?

T: Well, as you say, they are just some of the greatest records. The convergence of great sibling singers, along with exquisite arrangements and production/engineering, made for recordings that are unsurpassed. It was some of the first music I ever heard, and I’ve yet to hear anything that beats it. 

V: Many years ago you covered “The Price of Love” on your CD A Piece of What You Need. The song was hidden at the end, and only came up if you let the CD play on for several minutes. So many of your fans must have missed out on hearing your great interpretation of this classic Don Everly tune. What was your thinking on this?

T: I thought I was being rather clever and that it would be a fun surprise. Perhaps I was wrong!  

V:   You’ve been quoted as saying that on this record “we cut the songs the way they did back then”. What was it about the old ways that produced so many great recordings?

T: A lot of it had to do with the session musicians who played on them. They were very very good, and also the studios were set up and ready to go for a particular sound. So things moved quickly. Three songs in a three hour session was pretty standard. We didn’t go quite that fast, but we did record live in the same room and they often did. That captures an energy. 

V:  You’re very familiar with some lesser-known material, and from one of the songs on your Heartbreaker album titled “Record Player” we suspect you have an eclectic and fascinating record collection. Tell us something about your music library and your preferred listening habits.

T: I’m sorry to disappoint, but I only have a handful of vinyl records, and they are in storage along with my record player. I listen digitally. My apartment is small! 

V: And then there’s your guitar.  Every songwriter has an intimate relationship with his or her chosen instrument. Do you have a collection of guitars, or a favorite you can tell us about?

T: I am not much of a gear head. I have an old Lowden acoustic that I use mostly. My dad plays them, so I got into the sound. And they are very good for playing solo, strumming and finger picking both. I have a few others but nothing that is particularly meaningful to me. I’ve always wanted a great old Martin dreadnought. One day. 

V: You’ve described your own writing of songs as “mostly slow and sad”.  How does a song start and develop in your process?

T: There’s usually a nugget of tune/lyrics that come at the same time-ish. I’ll have 6-8 songs on the go at any one time and then I just work on them here and there, sort of absent mindedly until they feel 60-70% done. Then I’ll have to force myself to sit down at a table and actually do some work. Finishing songs is the work part. Ugh. 

V: What’s happening with your own original songwriting these days?

T: I have a bunch of songs finished and ready to record. Just figuring out how and when to do them. 

V: Your fans will be eager to learn how, where, and when they’ll be able to see you perform, either with your YouTube Parlor sessions or in person. What do you have planned?

T: There is very little touring for this record. There’s a Nashville record release on August 3rd. And then there will be a handful on east coast U.S. shows this fall, and hopefully a few in the U.K. next year. 

V: Thank you Teddy, for taking the time to do this. We’ve long been avid fans of your work here at Vivascene, and we congratulate you on the quality and passionate authenticity of your music.

Check out the album preview here: https://www.vivascene.com/teddy-thompson-my-love-of-country-album-preview/

Thanks to Kevin Calabro at Calabro Music Media for making this happen.
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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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