PORTSMOUTH — Richard Thompson, armed with a storyteller’s knack for blending flashes of melancholy with singeing guitar work, plays The Music Hall at 7:30 p.m. today.
The Grammy Award nominee shows continued grit and finesse on his latest release, 2018’s “13 Rivers.” In the song “The Storm Won’t Come,” Thomas delivers a plaintive vibrato over fret work that rolls like dark clouds and then thunders with unease.
In “The Rattle Within,” he ponders a restless streak of vices against drum beats and rim taps that sound like the rattle of bones: “Just when you think that your horses are running, just when you think you’re fixing to win, there’s this wandering deep inside of you. Who’s gonna save you from the rattle within?”
Thompson has said that the songs are responses to some difficult moments.
“The songs are a surprise in a good way. They came to me as a surprise in a dark time. They reflected my emotions in an oblique manner that I’ll never truly understand. It’s as if they’d been channeled from somewhere else. You find deeper meaning in the best records as time goes on. The reward comes later,” Thompson said in his website bio at richardthompson-music.com.
Thompson’s songs have been recorded by a host of fellow musicians, including Robert Plant, Don Henley, Elvis Costello, REM and David Byrne.
Thompson has earned Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Americana Music Association in Nashville and the BBC Awards. In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed Order of the British Empire (OBE) at Buckingham Palace.
Tickets to the Portsmouth show are $32 to $45, with VIP tickets priced at $125. For details, visit themusichallorg or call the box office, 28 Chestnut St., at 436-2400.