Album Review: Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers

Richard Thompson has long been one of the undisputed kings of folk and country music. With his warm and personable music his work has touched the hearts and minds of millions across the globe. It has always seemed as though each time he has put himself to task he has produce an album that was pure gold. However, his latest affair 13 Rivers has muddied the waters of his other works – making pure gold look as dull as dishwater.

13 Rivers is arguably one of (if not, the) best albums that Thompson has created in his decades in the music industry. It is a powerful collection of songs that contain a raw and almost brutal and unpredictable edge to them. Named after the 13 songs residing within it, 13 Rivers contains a stunning collection in which each song meanders and drifts along like a river, carrying you with it and taking you on a journey of discovery through the heart and mind of Thompson. What is so refreshing in 13 Rivers is the fact that you never traverse the same one twice, nor even one with a vague similarity. Each one has drastically different torrents, depths and directions. There are lulling, peaceable tracks such as No Matter that allow you to drift along in an amiable state but then there are tracks like Trying – a track with such a raging current and violent bassline that it feels as though it could split a rock.

Thompson is a truly remarkable artist with no shortage of talents. The music that he produces is a perfect storm of sound. His inimitable sound is produced by combining his unique, smoky and emotive vocal stylings with a deft and dextrous cacophony of sounds that somehow feel both simple and heartfelt as well as retaining a gratifying complexity. This is then polished off with the simple fact that Thompson is a natural born storyteller. The songs that he has produced over the years have been beautiful and haunting in equal measures and it has consistently been a joy to behold the contents of his enigmatic mind. Having never shied away from the harsher sides of life we have heard tales of love, war, lust and murder among others. His repertoire seems to be drawn from an endless vortex from which he can find inspiration in almost anything. This unabashed and tender writing style has yielded some of the most personal and heartfelt songs on 13 Rivers.

13 Rivers is a rich and warming album that feels immeasurably personal. There is a depth to it that makes you feel that with every listen there is still something just that little bit deeper that you have yet to discover. Although the songs all roll along at different speeds and with a wealth of different messages, the result is that each of them all flows into one body of water to create one grandiose and tumultuous album that has the touch of a feather but the power of a tsunami.

Richard Thompson will embark on an extensive UK tour for 13 Rivers in October and November 2018. Dates are as follows:


Thu 11 Liverpool Philharmonic
Fri 12 Leeds Irish Centre
Sat 13 Perth Concert Hall
Mon 15 Canterbury Marlowe
Tue 16 London Barbican
Wed 17 Bath Forum
Thu 18 Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Sat 20 Stoke on Trent Victoria Hall
Sun 21 Manchester Opera House
Mon 22 York Grand Opera House
Tue 23 Hull City Hall
Wed 24 Gateshead Sage
Fri 26 Birmingham Town Hall
Sat 27 Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Sun 28 Oxford New Theatre
Tue 30 Cambridge Corn Exchange
Wed 31 Salisbury City Hall

Thu 1 Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion
Fri 2 High Wycombe Swan
Sat 3 Woking The New Victoria
Support on the shows will be Joan Shelley.
Booking link for all dates:

Buy 13 Rivers here:

Review by Joe Knipe

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