Music: Songs of Sad Experience

The Thompsons create a powerful LP out of a broken marriage

The year so far: Richard and Linda Thompson, British musicians of formidable gifts and marginal celebrity, release their sixth album, Shoot Out the Lights. It is a record that has no contemporary equal for surpassing a particularly difficult goal: working the simple tragedies of the everyday into the stuff of folk legend, and letting the stories flow through melodies that seem to have been tapped from some deep Celtic wellspring. The music, fresh, strong and startling, has ancient reverberations and contemporary overtones. Each song has the clenched power and pitiless clarity...

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