3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: August 24, 2000
By Tony BonyataIt's not always easy following in the footsteps of famous, talented parents. Just ask Julian Lennon, Dino, Desi or Billy.
Luckily for Teddy Thompson, son of Richard and Linda Thompson, his parents, although brimming with talent, are far from household names.
Richard Thompson began his career in the late '60s as a founding member of the British folk-rock group Fairport Convention. After many successful albums Richard left the band to pursue his own solo career. It was at this time he met his future wife, Linda, and began a six album run together, including the brilliant release, Shoot Out The Lights.
Enter Teddy Thompson. Born in 1976 in a London commune where his parents were living, Teddy spent most of later youth living with his mother after his parents divorced when he was just seven. At he age of 13 he headed to boarding school where he was surrounded by artists and musicians. He soon immersed himself in singing and his guitar.
After leaving boarding school at 18, Thompson headed for Los Angeles, where his father had taken residency. Richard took his son under his wing - bringing him out on the road with him for a brief stint. It was on stage and on the road with his father that Teddy learned what he wanted to do in life.
His parent's musical style, along with classic country, early rock 'n roll, and alternative rock all took hold together in Teddy's head. While never completely siding with any one of these styles, traces of all of them can be heard on his self-titled debut album. On it, Teddy fills each song with sumptuous melodies, gentle arrangements and subjects near and dear to every freedom-lover who picked up a six-string - hope, love, happiness and sorrow.
And although many of these numbers may seem autobiographical, Thompson isn't so quick to divulge their true meanings. "I always hated reading things when people would tell you what their song was about and you thought it was about something else," Thompson complained. "If you like a song, it's usually because you relate to the sentiment. So I'm not sure it's really great to say, 'Well, it's about Sharon and we went out one night and so on."
Recorded in a mere three-weeks, the album retains a fresh, almost live feel to it. Thompson recruited fellow folk-son Rufus Wainwright for the sessions, as well as his father, Richard, who lends his guitar on half of the album.
Although the folkie, singer / songwriter tradition is often associated to a period in the past, Teddy Thompson seems quite content on his debut album to try and carry it into the 21st century.
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