WMKY

Teddy Thompson

Sep 10, 2020

Teddy Thompson
Credit Teddy Thompson

Muddy Bottom Blues

Program #217 (September 11 at 8:00 p.m. and September 12 at 3:00 p.m.)

Teddy Thompson has built a successful career that revealed the influences of his upbringing while also establishing a sound and an outlook of his own. While he has recorded and toured with both his parents -- Richard and Linda Thompson -- his own music marries observant, impassioned lyrics about the joys and challenges of relationships with music that borrows from folk, rhythm & blues, pop, indie rock, and country, topped off by his clear, incisive tenor voice.

Teddy Thompson was born in London on February 19, 1976. His parents were vocalists and songwriters Richard & Linda Thompson, who recorded a series of wildly acclaimed albums in the '70s and '80s. Although his parents divorced when he was young, he would go on tour and record with both of them.

As a youngster, Teddy had a passion for early rock & roll and vintage country, claiming he didn't listen to music recorded after 1959 until he was 16. By the time he was 18, he had learned to play guitar and formed his own band. In 1996, he made his recording debut, contributing backing vocals to his father's album You? Me? Us? Over the next several years, Teddy performed with Richard's group on tour, opened shows for him, and appeared on his recording sessions. Most notably, Teddy dueted with his father on a live version of the song "Persuasion" that appeared in the Richard Thompson collection Action Packed.

In 2000, Teddy struck out on his own, moving to New York and releasing his self-titled debut album via Virgin Records. While the record received strong reviews, sales were slim, and for a spell he toured with Rosanne Cash's backing group. He also toured with longtime friend Rufus Wainwright and appeared on his 2002 album Poses, as well as 2003's Want One.

2002 also saw Teddy participating in the recording of Linda Thompson's first album in 17 years, Fashionably Late, and joining her on the road for a brief U.S. tour. In 2005, he landed a new record deal with Verve Forecast and released his second solo album, Separate Ways. That same year, he and Rufus Wainwright recorded a cover of Roger Miller's "King of the Road" for the soundtrack to the film Brokeback Mountain. Teddy also took part in the sessions for Kate & Anna McGarrigle's seasonal album The McGarrigle Christmas Hour.

In 2007, Thompson released Upfront & Down Low, a striking collection of covers of his favorite country tunes. He also worked with his mother Linda again, performing and writing material for her album Versatile Heart. 2008's A Piece of What You Need saw him writing original pop songs again, and the album became a chart success in the U.K. and rose to number ten on the British Album Charts. In 2010, Teddy took part in a series of concerts paying tribute to the late Kate McGarrigle. Recordings from the concerts were later released as Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle. His 2011 album Bella was produced by David Kahne and spawned the single "Looking for a Girl."

In 2014, Teddy served as producer for a special project, a collaborative album with contributions from the extended Thompson family. Featuring Richard, Linda, Teddy's sister Kami, his half-brother Jack, and cousin Zak Hobbs, the album was titled Family and credited to "Thompson." Still in a collaborative mood, Teddy released an album with singer and songwriter Kelly Jones titled Little Windows in 2016, and he played out occasionally with a side project, a rockabilly/country trio called Poundcake.

When Thompson was contacted by a fan, a singer and songwriter from Virginia named Dori Freeman, he was immediately convinced she was a talent waiting to be discovered, producing her self-titled debut that was released in 2016, as well as 2017's Letters Never Read and 2019's Every Single Star. In 2020, five years after he had last released a solo album, Thompson came back with Heartbreaker Please, a record of fresh material with a decidedly R&B and roots music influence.

(provided by Allmusic)