Teddy Thompson, performing at City Winery NY on Mothers Day, revealed a dilemma. A native of London, England, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Mothers Day falls at a different time of year in England. He told his audience that this duplicity gets him “off the hook” twice each year. He paused and then added “or it gets me on-the-hook twice a year.”
Thompson’s sly sense of humor also revealed itself in some of the songs he performed. He even injected sardonic humor into a song about suicide. He is that kind of guy.
Thompson is a singer-songwriter, recording eight albums over the past 20 years, most of it while living in New York City. Rather than embracing the legacy of his parents, British folk-rock legends Richard and Linda Thompson, the offspring’s music is rooted in a melodic pop style that recalls some of the early rock and roll pioneers. The younger Thompson meshes folk, country and pop influences, sounding much more American than British.
Performing solo with only an acoustic guitar tonight, he opted to include in his set several songs he normally does not sing live, including three songs from his one country-inclined album. Thompson’s high tenor was appealingly clean and clear so that lyrics were easy to discern. These lyrics eschewed cryptic messages or poetically nuanced palettes in favor of plain speak, very much like one side of a dialogue. Virtually all of his lyrics were written in the first person, and many had to do with his attraction to or his relationships with the opposite sex. There were sporadic witticisms in those moments as well.
Comfortable with the challenge of performing alone on a large stage for 90 minutes, Thompson offered an evenly pleasant show. In the event that his mom gets to read this review, I will report that he sang a song that he wrote about his mother midway through his set and remembered to end his performance by wishing his audience a happy Mothers Day. That detail might help get him off the hook at least once this year.