FEW living musicians fascinate me as much as Richard Thompson, the London-reared, Los Angeles-dwelling, Fairport Convention-founding guitarist and songwriter whose recording career just hit the 50 year mark.
I’ve been listening to Richard’s work for three decades now — since I first heard “Valerie” and “A Bone Through Her Nose” on WHFS as a teenager — and have been meeting or speaking to him for nearly a quarter century. I’ve been struck, over the years, by what a serious thinker and deep reader he is, and by the role things outside music play in his songwriting and sense of mission.
When I started the All the Poets column for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Richard was one of the first musicians to come to mind for it. So it’s a real pleasure to have been able to correspond about his literary influences and passions.
The latest Richard Thompson record, Acoustic Classics II, just dropped this week, with Acoustic Rarities due in the fall. Here is our conversation.