The Lowell Thompson Interview
Words by Jess Slayton.
After meeting up and having coffee last Wednesday night at Muddy Waters, Lowell Thompson struck me as the most genuine sort of musician out there—he was simultaneously serious about making it as an artist while also still so clearly enraptured in staying true to his music and as he so bluntly put it, “doing it his way.” He was born and raised in Vermont, and although his music has brought him all over the world, he always comes back to Burlington. Thompson most recently returned to Burlington after living in Austin, Texas for a few years, but has also spent time out west, touring in Germany and in Holland. After watching him stare past me as if visualizing the memories and go off on tangents about these places, it was clear how much of a role his travels have played in both his personal and professional life. He also just got back from a short tour with Kelly Ravin, a friend both on and off the stage. They travelled to Portsmouth, Boston, and New York City, and I learned that outside of Burlington, Thompson's biggest following is likely in New York City. He is planning a potential album release tour in February, and hopes to continue collaborating with other bands in the meantime.
When speaking about the culture of Austin versus Burlington, Thompson commented that he found it more difficult to get his name out in Austin but that the general musical vibe was more his style. However, having grown up in the scene here in Burlington was invaluable for his musical evolution due to the homegrown nature of Burlington music. What I found extraordinarily powerful was that it was essentially friends' older brothers that helped him gain exposure and experience here—that's how tight this artistic community is. He just released a new album, “Stranger's Advice,” and already has two new albums in the making. Regarding his new album, he said that he finds the tracks to be more pop rock than his more traditional Americana style. This just happened as a subset of his changing life and new experiences, not due to anything intentional. When asked about where he takes his inspiration from, he said, “For me, inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere. I feel like it chooses me.” One of the tracks, “Rose Petals,” was made into the video by Pennington Productions, run by Thompson's friend Myles Jewell. The style is unique to say the least, as it was born out of fabulously bizarre ideas that came from many different people. It’s done in the stop motion style and was compiled by Jewell—according to Thompson, they had a ton of fun with the making of it. Thompson is currently working on another video, for “Bradley Street,” another track off of his new album. Stay tuned for more awesome work from Lowell Thompson—with his inspired creative energy and dynamic music, he is definitely a local artist to keep an eye on.