Listen to this track by British folk dynasty progeny, and superlative singer-songwriter besides, Teddy Thompson. It’s “Take Care Of Yourself”, a gem of a tune from his 2011 album Bella.
The album traces the episodes in meeting someone, falling in love, and then being faced with the reality of having to say goodbye. The music here on this track can be described as a sort of country-folk torch song along the lines of a Chris Isaak, k.d lang, and Rufus Wainwright. Teddy Thompson and Rufus Wainwright are well acquainted as friends and artistic collaborators, too. The commonalities between the two are notable,with both artists forging their own paths, and being the offspring of folk-singing families albeit on either sides of the Atlantic.
Teddy was born in 1976 while his parents Richard & Linda Thompson had been living in a Sufi community outside of London. This was around the time when they were creating some of their most celebrated work as a duo in I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight and Pour Down Like Silver, among others.
As such, his pedigree as a musician and songwriter is well-established, and the melancholy found in his own work is come by honestly. Since he established himself as a musician, he’s played a part in the creation of his parents’ solo records, including as co-producer on his mother’s Fashionably Late album, and has been the opening act for father Richard in the 1990s. But, in 2000, he struck out on his own with his own recording career apart from his work with his parents.
And with this song, he brings maturity and subtlety to one of the more bittersweet chapters in the span of a love affair; the mutually agreed upon break-up. Thompson treats his subject matter seriously, and accentuates his writing with an emotionally infused vocal delivery, helped along by twangy guitar, and swelling strings, the latter inspired by the strings Buddy Holly used on his records, and arranged in this case by producer David Kahne. His soaring vocals towards the end is a real treat, evoking yet another style; a sort of Bobby Hatfield-like soul-pop.
What comes out of all of that is a song that sounds as though it could have been written in any era, perhaps because the ecstasies and sorrows of love are just as timeless.
For more information about Teddy Thompson, check out the Teddy Thompson official site.