I'm thrilled to have two new songs from one of our greatest living guitarists and songwriters, Richard Thompson. His just-announced 19th solo album, 13 Rivers, still finds him brimming with bursts of guitar magic and storytelling. It's a trademark sound that has been incredibly influential since the days when he electrified British folk music in the 1960s as part of Fairport Convention and, later, some of the most brilliant records of the 1970s with his wife at the time Linda Thompson. But Richard Thompson is not stuck in any one era and his solo records continue to influence younger musicians with it's deft playing and the way he spins a tale.
The two new songs today continue his tradition of turning life's journey into song. "The Storm Won't Come" tackles the desire for change and comes to the conclusion that you can't hurry it. In an email, Richard Thompson wrote to say it's "a song about change - out with the old, in with the new. In spite of your efforts, you cannot synthesize change, it is a natural process."
There's a smell of death where I lay my head So I'll go to the storm instead I'll seek it out, stand in the rain Thunder and lightning, and scream my name
But it's never the same But it's never the same The storm must come to me And The Storm Won't Come
The second song we have from 13 Rivers is a stuttering, fast-paced tune called "Bones of Gilead." Richard Thompson says "this is about an impending crisis, but it's a good crisis. It's an uncomfortable process to go through, one you may barely survive, but it brings knowledge and growth and love."
What's my name? My name is heartbreak Heartbreak of the giving kind I will come and whisper sweetness Sweetness that will dawn your mind No rib cage can hold me No loving cup I don't fit your wise world I tear it up
And tear it up he does on these cuts and the other 11 on the 13 Rivers. The self-produced album was recorded and mixed by Clay Blair at Boulevard Recording, an old, famed studio in Hollywood. "It used to be Hollywood trendy, but it fell into total disrepair," says Thompson. "It's still got some gaps in the walls. I like studios that are honest. It's about the décor of the sound, and there's a specific sound to Boulevard."
These songs were written at what Richard Thompson describes as a dark time in his life without being specific. These songs came "as if they'd been channeled from somewhere else. You find deeper meaning in the best records as time goes on. The reward comes later."
13 Rivers will be out on New West Records September 14.