This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
It’s often said there are only two kinds of music: Good and bad. That’s true to some degree — though I’d argue that these days, things tend to be divided into two different categories: Art and product.
British folk-rock icon Richard Thompson is, thankfully, one of the ever-dwindling list whose work always lands on the good side of that line. And his typically magnificent new album Old Kit Bag is no exception. Much like 1999’s outstanding Mock Tudor, this hour-long outing captures the master guitarist and songwriter in both a wistful mood and a rocking frame of mind. Supported by just a tight rhythm section and a backup vocalist, Thompson pushes his combo through a dozen spare but tightly wound roots-rock progressions, passionately spinning beautifully literate tales of love, longing and regret in his plaintively throaty voice and taking regular breathers to reel off one impeccable, jaw-dropping solo after another. From the slow-burning, Traffic-like jangle of Gethsemane to the jaunty Dire Straits-style groove of I’ll Tag Along and the downtempo jazz of I’ve Got No Right to Have It All, these are smart, finely honed works for people who prefer art over product — and good music over the other kind.