‘Bella’ is brave and beautiful


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It is said that songwriters tell the stories of others. It seems rare these days that a songwriter with musical capability turns inward. And I mean truly inward, as if using their talents against themselves like weapons.
Classic folk rock artists did it back in the day. Introspection from the likes of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” come to mind.

Teddy Thompson, the prodigal son of British folk singers Richard and Linda Thompson, seems to pick up where that tradition left off on his fifth studio album, “Bella.”  

On the first spin, the album has a country-fried vibe that can either be off-putting or inviting. I encourage you to give “Bella” another spin.

What you will find is beauty beneath its original surface studio sheen. On “Over and Over,” Thompson’s guitar becomes menacing, humming low and deep like an engine revving in the night. He sings: “Long time ago, I came up with a plan/Shit on myself so that no one else can.” 

That kind of brutal honesty takes guts. I wish more singer-songwriters these days could follow suit.

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