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So ingrained on the international folk rock scene is UK singer-songwriter Richard Thompson that he has been appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire. The former Fairport Convention guitarist relies on a combination of complex licks and alternative tunings, and his compositions have been recorded by everyone from Elvis Costello to Jefferson Starship to The Blind Boys of Alabama. Thompson prefers playing medium-sized venues that give him a chance to interact with his audience. He has released live performances under the titles Small Town Romance, Live From Austin, TX, In Concert, November 1975 and Live at the BBC.
Richard Thompson distinguished himself as an exceptional guitarist as a member of Fairport Convention in 1967, when he was just 18 years old. The London-born multi-instrumentalist drew inspiration from jazz, rock and roll, and traditional Scottish music. These genres still play major roles in his songwriting output. Thompson instantly stood out for his ability to make difficult songs look and sound effortless. His fingerpicking style makes it possible for him to play complicated chords that come to life with syncopated rhythms. Thompson's style has been referred to as the pick-and-fingers technique because he plays bass notes with a pick held between his thumb and first finger. This approach leaves his other three fingers free to pluck melodies on the treble strings. During Thompson's early career, he predominantly played acoustic guitars. After leaving Fairport Convention in 1971, he turned more to electric guitars. Richard Thompson married his Linda Peters in 1972. The two had performed together in several musical projects based in the London area. Shortly after marrying, the couple released I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight under the name Richard and Linda Thompson. They released have five more albums under the moniker. When Richard and Linda Thompson separated in 1981, the couple continued to tour Europe and the US, where they became especially popular. After finalizing their divorce, Richard Thompson launched a solo career. Thompson's children include the artists Kami Thompson and Teddy Thompson.