Yes, Teddy Thompson is the son of Folk-Rock legends Richard and Linda Thompson, but he owes his success to his talent, not his heritage. For over a decade, the Brit that now resides in New York has released a steady output of critically-lauded solo albums. His latest effort, Bella (Verve Forecast), was released in February and could propel him to the commercial success that he deserves. On Saturday, April 16, Thompson will perform at Workplay in a double-bill show with the stalwart quartet Old 97s. Showtime is 9 p.m. Recently, we caught up with Thompson by phone from his tour stop in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Birmingham Weekly: Teddy, thanks for your time. How did the material for Bella take shape?
Teddy Thompson: Usually it works the same for me. I write songs as I go along over the months and years without thinking too much about it. It gets to the point where you know without looking that you have the bulk of album and that's about the time that you start thinking about making one. Its cyclical - you make records and you tour and you have an internal clock as to whats going on. If no one is holding a gun to your head, you work on that schedule. For me, the hard part is finishing things up when you have to get things done and go into the studio. On this record, there was a lot of thought put into it and the producer and I got together and planned things before we even started, so we knew what we were getting into.
BW: Are you able to write songs while you tour?
TT: I don't (write) too much on the road. Touring is tiring in certain ways, so I don't find there's much time to focus on writing. You get into performance mode and travel mode and that's the way you set yourself up.
BW: Did growing up in a musical family help to prepare you for life as a touring musician?
TT: You don't know what it is like until you go out and do it. I didn't go on the road with my parents much - they'd just go off and work and come home and that's all you'd know about it. Until you do it, it's not really real.
BW: You're fronting a trio on your current tour. If you will, talk about the variety of doing solo and full-band shows.
TT: That's one of the realities of the music business now. There's definitely less money than there possible ever has been for artists to work with. It's important to be flexible and there are good points, too. In order to make a living at anything less than Lady Gaga level, you have to be able to sing and play live, which is a good thing because that's what real music is. It's good to do solo shows, trio shows, full band and whatever the budget is for that tour. I'm grateful to be able to mix it up in that way.
Tickets to the 18+ show are $15 - $18 day of the show - and can be purchased at www.workplay.com