Here's what you should know about Richard Thompson: voted one of Rolling Stone's Top 20 guitarists of all-time, he grew up listening to traditional Scottish tunes and mid-century jazz, and as a teenager joined the British folk-rock outfit called Fairport Convention.
Fairport started in the '60s by performing cover songs. Yet even when he was 18, the impatiently inventive Thompson was dissatisfied with performing others' work. So he learned to write songs.
He's become one of the best storytellers in music. Here's one example from Thompson's 1994 song "Beeswing" about a wanderer for whom "even a Gypsy caravan was too much settling down."
<i>She was a rare thing / Fine as a beeswing / So fine a breath of wind might blow her away / She was a lost child / She was running wild, she said / As long as there's no price on love, I'll stay / And you wouldn't want me any other way.</i>
Combine lyrics like these with Thompson's guitar style — ranging from tender for ballads to incendiary on his rock songs — and you have a performer who deserves a place among rock's royalty.