Richard Thompson’s latest album, Acoustic Classics, is an unexpected gift to his many devoted fans—solo acoustic versions of 14 of his finest songs, spanning his work with ex-wife Linda (six songs), to his productive years with producer Mitchell Froom, and beyond. The exceptional singer and guitarist brings new spirit and the wisdom of experience to tunes ranging from “Dimming of the Day” and “Wall of Death” to “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” and “When the Spell Is Broken.”
Thompson recorded the album himself at his Southern California home using just three mics—a Telefunken AR51 (into a UA 610 preamp) for his lead vocal, and a pair of Neumann KM 184s in a coincident pair (into a UA 4-710d preamp) for the guitar. The recording chain also included a MOTU 828 MkII Firewire interface and a Mac Pro Tower running Digital Performer 7. Thompson delivered the performances to the album’s mixer and mastering engineer, Simon Tassano, on a thumb drive. Tassano has worked with Thompson as his FOH engineer and in other capacities for over three decades. “We both agreed it should be as close to a ‘live’ performance as possible,” Tassano says.
The mix was done at Tassano’s Rumiville Music studio in Austin, “pretty much all ‘in the box,’ but I do use a TL Audio Fat Track for summing, returning to my DAW via a Black Lion Sparrow A-D. I use that as my master clock, too. I mastered this project here, too.”
Reverbs were minimal and tastefully employed. “I use a suitable room from Altiverb, and the EMT plate from the UAD 2 plug-ins. I have a couple of UAD 2 cards in my Mac Dual Quad core. I also used a little delay from the Sound Toys Echoboy plug-in here and there on the vocal.”