Fashionably Late

Listening to legendary Brit-folkie Linda Thompson's first album of new material since 1985's One Clear Moment makes it hard to imagine how hysterical dysphonia—a psychological syndrome that pre

Listening to legendary Brit-folkie Linda Thompson's first album of new material since 1985's One Clear Moment makes it hard to imagine how hysterical dysphonia—a psychological syndrome that prevented the artist from producing speech—could have halted her stellar career for so long. Without mincing words, Fashionably Late instantly returns Thompson to female singer/songwriter prominence. Lead cut "Dear Mary," which she co-wrote with her son and chief collaborator, Teddy—and which features vocals and guitar work from ex-husband Richard Thompson—effectively grounds the recording. The circle of Brit-folk is further made unbroken by the guest roles of Fairport Convention's Jerry Donohue, Dave Mattacks, and Dave Pegg; Martin Carthy and his daughter, Eliza, and her young contemporary cohort Kate Rusby. But it's Thompson's poignance, bathed in a beautifully understated, mostly acoustic setting that is bound to lift the album high on year-end top 10 lists.—JB