Teddy Thompson

Separate Ways (Verve Forecast)

Teddy Thompson hails from impressive lineage; his parents, Richard and Linda Thompson, are influential alums in high standing among Britain's folk-rock elite. However, with this sophomore set, Thompson proves there's no need to depend on pedigree; at this point in a still-fledgling career, he carves out his own credentials. Though Separate Ways finds him recruiting some formidable assistance — Mom, Dad, former Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks, the Band's Garth Hudson, and other famous offspring like Rufus and Martha Wainwright and Jenni Muldaur — it's the material (all original save a bonus cover of the Everly Brothers' "Message to Mary") that merits the attention. While Teddy often emulates the droll irony and anguished vulnerability that characterize the elder Thompson's output, he also musters a compelling urgency and striking delivery entirely his own. His songs — whether moving ballads like the shimmering "Shine So Bright," "Frontlines," and "I Wish It Was Over," or snappier selections such as the driving "I Should Get Up," "That's Enough Out of You," and "You Made It" — span the divide between emotional urgency and quiet contemplation. "I like to put on my happy face while I cry on the inside," he confesses on "Altered State," one of the set's more inspired anthems. It's not always easy to carve out an individual identity when you bear a famous name. Yet true to its title, Separate Ways finds Teddy ready to pursue his own possibilities.

 
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