First family of British folk enters its next generation as Kami Thompson, daughter of Richard and Linda, makes her debut
When the pioneering folk guitarist Richard Thompson joined musical forces with his wife Linda, they recorded a series of acclaimed albums which soundtracked their turbulent marriage.
Now their folk dynasty is set to continue with Kami, the couple’s daughter, launching a singing duo with her husband – although she hopes this partnership will not end in the divorce courts.
In a tradition famous for passing talent down through bloodlines, the Thompsons are staking their claim to become folk’s first family.
Kami, 30, joins her sibling Teddy Thompson, a singer-songwriter who has already enjoyed a top 10 album.
Zak Hobbs, Richard’s grandson, helped Kami out on guitar, when she unveiled The Rails, her new duo formed with husband James Walbourne, who has played with Ray Davies and The Pogues, at a West London pub on Wednesday.
Kami recognises that The Rails may not necessarily be a recipe for domestic bliss. When Richard Thompson left the groundbreaking British folk-rock group Fairport Convention, he recorded six albums with wife Linda. Their marriage crumbled following the release of the Shoot Out The Lights album (below) in 1982, which contained tales of domestic discord.
Afflicted with dysphonia, a rare vocal disorder, which she believed was a psychological reaction to the break-up, Linda Thompson was unable to sing for several years and is still only able to perform sparingly, following a Botox injection in her throat.
However Linda joined The Rails to sing a harmony vocal at their London performance and welcomed her daughter’s marital duo. “I can’t remember the last time I performed. I don’t do it very often because I have vocal issues,” Ms Thompson, 66, told The Independent. “It’s great to sing with my daughter because families make a very good sound.”
Husband-and-wife duos have a unique creative spark. “It works when you’re super together and also when you’re falling apart,” said Ms Thompson, who expressed frustration by kicking her husband in the shins on stage during their bitter final tour. “Ike & Tina Turner did it too. They had a much quieter divorce than we did.”
Kami Thompson said: “When The Rails play we like to come out fighting and show when we’re at each other’s throats.” She joked: “The duo is our future now… until the acrimonious divorce.”
Asked what connects the Thompson dynasty musically, Linda, who has since reconciled with her ex-husband, said: “It’s a kind of rampant uncommercialism that goes right through the bloodline.”
Her daughter hopes a younger audience will respond to The Rails’ debut album, Fair Warning, a mixture of traditional and original songs, released next month. “People want to listen to music with real instruments at the moment and that now gets called folk,” she said.
Linda Thompson (third from left) with daughter Kami (far left) and son-in-law James Walbourne (far right) at the launch of The Rails (credit: Charlie Forgham-Bailey)
Eliza Carthy, daughter of folk guitarist Martin Carthy who sings with wife Norma Waterson, plays fiddle on the Rails album, continuing the dynastic theme.
The Thompson clan have joined the prolific McGarrigle/Wainwright family on stage. Rufus and singing sister Martha Wainwright are the children of Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle, who died in 2010 and American singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 North Korean prison officers 'cooked prisoner's baby and fed it to their dogs', more horrific accounts from UN report reveal
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 4 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Secret Cinema showed The Great Dictator at protest secret screening, following Sony's The Interview cancellation
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Angelina Jolie 'didn't eat much' in sympathy with actors who had to lose weight for Unbroken
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever