Any Richard and Linda Thompson is like a Japanese lantern, flying away into the dusk; a gentle anomaly, delicate and intricate. I learned about the couple through Rolling Stone and their constant praise, but this was a time so distant it seems impossible to fathom (the early 90s), and while I was on the constant lookout for their albums, I could not find them. The first time I got to touch their beautiful music was at an outdoor concert in early October of 1990. It was getting chilly, and my girlfriend had dumped me earlier that day. I was standing with my friend Liz, and my favorite college band, Three Merry Widows, played “Dimming of the Day”.
Three Merry Widows were a transcendent band on the TVT label, who got screwed by their record label (imagine that). I got to see them often during my college years, and never missed a chance. I went up and asked the magnificent singer Alice Spencer (who now sings with Shinyribs, formerly of The Gourds, and one of the few singers I’ve ever met who could have a decent chance of covering Linda without seeming slight and silly) about the song. She told me where it came from; as my memory serves, I believe it had been introduced to her by her former boyfriend Jeff Tweedy, then of Uncle Tupelo, who would later go on to form a little band called Wilco.
If there were any justice in the world, there would be forty years of Richard and Linda records, lasting peace, and better world leaders. As it is, I’ll take watching my Japanese lanterns and English folk duos glide into the soft evening air, and enjoy my small role in a never-ending of loving music and life.
Dale Wiley is an author of three novels: The Intern, Sabotage and Southern Gothic. He is a podcaster, working on the Soutee podcast about a larger than life friend who lived a one of a kind life that included horses, parties, law, prison and maybe even a murder. He is working on a TV project called The East Side, and also started the roots rock record label Slewfoot Records.