Zheem/Flickr (cc by nd)
Richard Thompson performing in Sausalito in September 2008
Richard Thompson might be your favorite guitarist ever. He's good enough. Or he might be one of those people you discover after hours of wiki-digging and slowly realize he's left his mark on nearly every album and artist you hold near and dear to your heart--and without him popular music today would be too empty to imagine.
He's an English guitarist and singer with a penchant for berets. He's had a solo career, of course, and Thompson's songs have been covered by Elvis Costello, REM, Sleater Kinney, Loudon Wainwright III, to name a few. He also played guitar in Fairport Convention - arguably the most iconic British Folk band of all time. Performing in a duo with his then wife Linda, the two released five solid albums ending the marriage in 1982 with the heartbreaking Shoot out the Lights. Think of Rumours if the band set aside the hard stuff for a simple bottle of whiskey.
Luckily, Thompson still performs today. This weekend he'll debut material from his upcoming album, Interviews with Ghosts at two shows. First on Saturday at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and again in Hollywood on Sunday. Both of the performances are in collaboration with the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra and feature other music from John Cage, Chen Yi and Steve Reich. If you don't mind the drive, the Saturday show in Idyllwild is free, otherwise Sunday's will run you $10 to $20. Go to either, and you'll return home glad you went.