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Live shows gave energy to new Richard Thompson album

of the Oakland Press

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"Misguidedness" is what led British singer, songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson to record his new album, "Dream Attic," live in concert rather than in a traditional studio.

"I was thinking that, gosh, recording is an expensive process in the studio, and with shrinking budgets it's hard to get the record companies to give you enough to feel comfortable," explains Thompson, 61. "So I thought maybe it's cheaper to record on the road, and friends are always saying, 'Gosh, we prefer the live records to the studio albums.' So I thought, 'Well, let's test those theories...'

"Of course, after a short time it became obvious it's just as expensive to do it on the road as it is in the studio -- kind of exactly the same price! So that was a brilliant plan foiled there. But I still really like the quality of live recording."

Thompson says that "you sacrifice accuracy for energy" in the recordings, which were made during an eight-date West Coast mini-tour in February, with most of the album takes coming from the final three shows at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Nevertheless, he feels the trade-off was worthwhile.

"The up side [i]is[/i] the energy and the immediacy," he explains. "I was writing consciously for it to be a band performance and for it to be...an electric guitar record. The audience is an incentive to play as well as you can and get the notes right, because they're standing there right in front of you. It all worked out rather well, I think."

The Richard Thompson Band performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $65, $39.50 and $25. Call 734-668-8463 or visit www.michtheater.org.

Web Site: www.michtheater.org

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