Royalty will be among us this week when the Richard Thompson Trio comes to town. Or, depending on when you ask, the court jesters. During the early evolution of British folk, back in the 1960s, this was the kind of music met with resistance from musicians who preferred to stick with the a cappella tradition. Even a solo acoustic guitar was greeted with disdain. I imagine Ewan MacColl, legendary balladeer and face of traditional British folk music at that time, must have been tearing his hair out upon hearing Thompson's first folk-rock band, Fairport Convention.
Fairport ended up becoming influential and is still active, approaching its golden jubilee, but Thompson exited the fold in 1971. Since then, he's created a beyond-prolific career, both as a solo artist and in collaboration with former wife, folk-rock singer Linda Thompson.
The latest Thompson release, Still, lends confirmation that Thompson is still a rare breed. He continues to captivate with a potent elixir—equal parts bitter truth, humility, humanity and some bitchin' and untouchable guitar playing. Tracks like "Josephine" and "Where's Your Heart" prove Thompson's inspiration is intact and relevant as ever. He remains rooted in folk but proves he understands different avenues of music from both sides of the Atlantic. He's royalty, yes, but he's far from antiquated.
Richard Thompson plays the Wilma Mon., Nov. 16, at 8 PM. Doors at 7. $32/$28 advance at thewilma.com.