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"Guitar playing should always be based on the structure of the composition," Thompson says. "I like to think of a solo as an extension of the song."
So instead of flashy pyrotechnics so common with the better-known guitar heroes, Thompson is more interested in telling a story and showing his chops through improvisation.
"If I get tired of a song, I just don't play it," says Thompson with glee. "In the case of a song like 'Vincent Black Lightning'—or any song that gets requested a lot—I can always find some new and interesting things to do with it."
Content with his place as the consummate cult artist, Richard Thompson looks forward to continuing to defy any traditional career path and to the upcoming Fairport Convention reunion as his first band celebrates 40 years of making music.
"There is not a label for what I do, and there's certainly not a Grammy category for it either."