For his upcoming gig at the Lobero Theatre, former Fairport Convention guitarist Richard Thompson is leaving his electric trio at home and going it solo. On November 9 the singer-songwriter will play an acoustic set comprised of old and new music, ranging as far back as the late 1960s to as recently as his latest LP, 2018’s “13 Rivers. According to Mr. Thompson, solo acoustic performances are something to which he treats cities that last time saw him perform a full-band electric show. He enjoys switching between the two formats and has extensive experience doing both, but it’s sure to be different for anyone who may have seen Mr. Thompson’s the last time around.
“It’s just kind of a different experience for the audience,” he said.
For him, there’s really only one difference between playing with a full band and playing solo: “The difference playing solo is that there’s no one else you can blame if something goes wrong.”
Beginning his musical career as a member of British folk rock group Fairport Convention in the late 1960s, Mr. Thompson to this day remains influenced by the same music that got him started playing all those years ago. As a songwriter, his biggest influence is what he called “original British folk music,” songs easily over a century old with unknown songwriters. Looking back on the music he created with his old band, Mr. Thompson said this influence gave it a distinctly British character.
“At some point in Fairport Convention we developed a much more British style. We tried to mix that with rock music to create kind of a new hybrid,” he said.
Debatably as well known a guitar player as a singer-songwriter, Mr. Thompson’s early influences on the instrument included players like Django Reinhardt, Les Paul, and Shadows lead guitarist Hank Marvin. However, he stated that his interest in guitar players waned as he moved out of his teenage years and instead started listening to other instruments. Ironically, he did this as a means of improving his own guitar playing.
“The most important thing is to be original. If you listen to instruments that aren’t your own instrument, it can stretch you into other techniques,” he said.
During his Lobero performance, Mr. Thompson will perform a couple of Fairport Convention songs, particularly those the band released in 1969. The final year of the ‘60s was a very prolific one for Fairport Convention that saw the band release three albums, “What We Did on Our Holidays,” “Unhalfbricking,” and “Liege & Leaf.” He didn’t name exactly which songs he will play as there are a lot to choose from, but Mr. Thompson is looking forward to celebrating the five decade anniversary of whichever ones he selects.
“I have some songs that are now 50 years old, so it’s fun to feature those,” he said.
After leaving Fairport Convention, Mr. Thompson’s career continued with collaborations between him and his ex-wife, vocalist Linda Thompson, and later as a solo artist. Though his musical career has now lasted for upwards of 50 years, it’s not at all something that he planned.
“I figured it’d be a couple of years and then we’d have to go back and get a real job. So it’s been a real bonus,” he said.Mr. Thompson’s November 9 performance at the Lobero Theatre will begin at 8 p.m., with an opening set by singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson. Tickets for the performance can be purchased online at the venue’s website www.lobero.org. The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E Canon Perdido St.