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Teddy Thompson (from the album My Love of Country available on Chalky Sounds) (by Lee Zimmerman)
When Teddy Thompson named his new album My Love of Country, he wasn’t making any sort of patriotic pronouncement. Rather, he was simply stating his homage to Classic Country music, and finding it an inspiration for a set of songs that culls a series of standards made famous by the likes of Hank Cochran, Harlan Howard, Dolly Parton, Eddy Arnold, Ray Charles and Don Everly. It’s not his first flirtation with that seminal sound — 2007’s Up Front and Down Low found him paying tribute to that storied Nashville tradition — but here it proves to be far more than some sort of flirtatious fling.
Still, this current collection of tunes may come across as something of a surprise to some. As the offspring of two of Britain’s most revered Folk Rock icons, Richard and Linda Thompson, his heritage would seem to draw him closer to a more traditional template. Yet, the fact that he has another Country crossover in the works, a duets effort alongside Jenni Muldaur, is indicative of the fact that his commitment to Americana is now effectively established.
Consequently, My Love of Country summons up the spirit of the revered masters — Hank Williams, George Jones, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, and all the others who were responsible for giving country music its contemporary credence. Producer and multi-instrumentalist David Mansfield underscores the effort; a member of Bob Dylan’s storied Rolling Thunder Revue, he’s also loaned his talents to Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam, among many others.
The results come to fruition through the shimmering sound of remorse and heartbreak brought to bear on “A Picture of Me Without You”, the otherwise upbeat “I Don’t Love You Anymore” (“I don’ t love you anymore, trouble is, I don’t love you any less”) and the sway and sashay of “Crying Time”. Poetry and passion are shared in equal measure, and Thompson stays true to that combination by effectively replicating the original arrangements. Hearing him sing the Pasty Cline classic “I Fall To Pieces” one gets the distinct feeling he’s expressing his absolute unfettered emotion. Teddy Thompson is a natural when it comes to conveying tears-in-the-beer ballads, and when he recasts his father’s composition “I’ll Regret It All in the Morning”, it’s clear that a demonstrative devotion is present in the family genes.
Other songs follow suit — from the clarity and sparkle of pedal steel on “Love and Learn” through the easy caress of “Satisfied Mind” (which finds Thompson effectively channeling Gram Parsons or, in a more contemporary context, Jim Lauderdale), to the weepy and regretful “You Don’t Know Me”.
Ultimately then, Teddy Thompson proves his love of Country not be taken for granted. Lest there be any doubt, authenticity is assured. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Teddy Thompson from AMAZON
Please visit the Teddy Thompson website for more information
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