Richard Thompson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Richard Thompson 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

It's difficult to fix precisely the brand of anachronistic fever that infects the songs of Richard Thompson. Without specific references, he manages to conjure up the baleful events of distant times: you think of a troubadour mucking through an Arthurian miasma, a Jacobin hanger-on agog at the beheading of Danton, or maybe something more grisly--he seems, Greil Marcus once wrote, "to be singing from the plague years, following a cart full of corpses." All of which is to say that amid his folkish visions and steady guitar changes there's a lot of blood and a lot of time. His devout cult thrills to his virtuoso guitar work and the faithfulness of his musical vision; others might find his songs' genre excursions and lyrical romanticism--some would say political archaism--a bit tiresome. (He also has a dopey fondness for folkie novelty numbers.) But on the new Mirror Blue there's a lot of genius: the cartoony murder-suicide of "Shane and Dixie"; the callow narrator of the ballad "Beeswing," unmoved by the Summer of Love's "burning babies, burning flags"; the burnt shimmer of guitar on "For the Love of Mary." Over a career fully 25 years long, Thompson's become almost an august figure--he plays a music older than the blues, and what deed is more venerable than murder? Friday, 7:30 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine; 275-6800 or 559-1212.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Steven Danelian.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Bill Wyman

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Bernhardt/Hamlet Goodman Theatre
September 14
Performing Arts
Love and Information Trap Door Theatre
September 12

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories