Teddy Thompson goes ‘Upfront & Down Low’ 

It’s not a surprise that Teddy Thompson’s third album, "Upfront & Down Low," is earning rave reviews — his parents are acclaimed musicians Richard and Linda Thompson.

Having already proven himself as a notable singer-songwriter, Thompson, on this outing on Verve Records, presents 12 compelling, self-produced covers of classic country songs. The Los Angeles Times said, "the golden-voiced U.K. native sounds at home with American country music."

Thompson himself has called country "the music that’s closest to my heart, and the music that speaks to me the most. It’s definitely had a huge influence on the way I write songs."

Among the album’s offerings are George Jones’ "She Thinks I Still Care," Ernest Tubb’s "Walking the Floor Over You" and Merle Haggard’s "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers."

Yet the tunes feature evocative arrangements that often diverge from the material’s original country milieu. Arranger Robert Kirby, known for his work with Nick Drake, did the string arrangements on six tracks; the Dolly Parton tune "My Blue Tears" showcases strings arranged by Thompson’s pal Rufus Wainwright.

Thompson opens for Suzanne Vega, whose tour comes to San Francisco’s Fillmore at 8 p.m. Monday and Saratoga’s Montalvo Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Visit www.tickemaster.com for details.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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