Richard Thompson makes State Bridge debut Friday night |

Richard Thompson makes State Bridge debut Friday night

Caramie Schnell
VAIL CO, Colorado

Special to the DailyRobert Plant, REM, Elvis Costello, Los Lobos, David Byrne, Del McCoury and Bonnie Raitt are among those who have recorded Richard Thompson's work. Consistently extolled for his live performances, his live-tour CD, "Dream Attic," received a 2011 Grammy nod.

Depending on your viewpoint, guitarist and songwriter Richard Thompson has been on tour for either five days, or 45 years.

He performs for the first time – he thinks, at least – in Eagle County and for sure at State Bridge Riverside Amphitheater on Friday night.

Thompson is a critically acclaimed songwriter, a recipient of BBC’s Lifetime Achievement Award, who was named one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top-20 guitarists of all time for his acoustic and electric virtuosity.

He’s a master of both the acoustic and electric guitar, and is known for his high-energy show. Music just never gets old for Thompson.

“It’s just a drive … you’re driven to do it,” he said. “If you’re not driven, maybe you shouldn’t bother. If you haven’t written a song for a couple of weeks, you get itchy … you start twitching. You have to get it out there, whatever it is. I’ve been twitching for 40 years, which is great. It’s wonderful to still be enthusiastic about what is basically one’s employment, and to have been that way all the way through. I still guiltily look over my shoulder sometimes, thinking, ‘This is too much fun.'”

“It’s kind of like you’re canoeing down a river and you want to see what is around the next bend. The future, the stuff you haven’t created yet, is very exciting,” Thompson said.

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The very dry Thompson answered a few questions for the Vail Daily.

1. Vail Daily: Tell me about your recent recording session with Buddy Miller in Nashville. How did it go? What are you recording?

Richard Thompson: Buddy was producing my new CD for Nonsuch, with my trio format – stylistically somewhere between Judy Collins and Bootsy Collins. We were working in Buddy’s home studio – he played some guitar as well.

2. Vail Daily: Is there anyone you haven’t recorded with that you would like to record with?

RT: Just dead people.

3. VD: Many musicians have peaked by the time they hit age 30 but many of your fans think you you’re still getting better. What’s the secret to your success?

RT: Pretend you’re 29. This technique also involves never looking in the mirror. And get yourself some short-sighted and possibly deaf fans.

4. VD: Do you plan to include any new songs in your State Bridge set?

RT: I’ll surely do some new songs, and a selection going back through the decades to the ’60s! This is my sixth decade in music.

5. VD: What can people expect from a live Richard Thompson show?

RT: For this show I’ll be acoustic and solo, playing charming songs of celtic angst and Nordic darkness, with some good jokes thrown in.

6. VD: What drives you?

RT: Insanity, probably. And fear. Oh, and jealousy.

7. VD: Are you still having fun?

RT: I’m glad I have fun doing the thing I have to do, anyway.

8. VD: What am I not asking that I should know?

RT: My great uncle built railway locomotives.