Though Teddy Thompson's eponymous debut may hint at the folk-rock of his famous parents (Richard & Linda Thompson), in reality it's probably closer to the acoustic pop of an artist like Elliott Smith. Despite the unmistakable presence of his father's signature guitar work on about half of the songs, this is without question Teddy's record. With the help of producer Joe Henry, he delivers ten confident and smart folk-pop tunes filled with fetching hooks and engaging melodies perfectly suited to his warm, winsome voice. Like many young artists, there's the usual autobiographical baring of the soul here, but for the most part Thompson is adept enough not to fall into sticky sentimentality, or get too lost in literalness. Furthermore, though Thompson's lyrics may on occasion be merely serviceable, they're always literate, and can quite often be poignant, touching, and even biting. "Love Her for That" is a tender tribute, seemingly directed toward his mother, while on the other hand, the album's best song, the moving "Days in the Park," is a son's indictment of his absent father. The stark use of Thompson's acoustic guitar and plaintive vocal, backed only by his father's sorrowful guitar fills, which seem to answer his son's queries, is as powerful as it gets. Other highlights include the enticing opener "Wake Up"; "Thanks a Lot," which has the same venomous sting of Richard's "Hard Luck Stories"; the hurt and betrayal of "A Step Behind"; and the hidden track, a beautiful duet with Emmylou Harris on Don Everly's "I Wonder If I Care As Much." There have been a number of offspring of great artists, going back to the likes of Arlo Guthrie and Rosanne Cash, through Jakob Dylan, Eliza Carthy, and Rufus Wainwright, who have done proud by their lineage, and you can add Teddy Thompson to the list.
Teddy Thompson Review
by Brett Hartenbach