Richard Thompson at 8 p.m. Monday, May 12, and Tuesday, May 13, at Great American Music Hall. 8 p.m., $38; slimspresents.com.
For a musician blessed with such remarkable talents, British folk-rock giant Richard Thompson remains far from a household name beyond his modest cult of fans. One of the founders of pioneering U.K. outfit Fairport Convention, Thompson helped shape the group's electrified mix of Dylan covers, scintillating originals, and traditional English and Celtic folk tunes on influential albums like Unhalfbricking and Leige & Leif prior to leaving in 1971. In the decades since, Thompson proved himself to be a master of many trades. From the brilliant records with then-wife Linda Thompson (their 1982 swan song Shoot Out the Lights stands as one of the most vivid breakup albums ever made) through a prodigious body of solo recordings, Thompson has displayed his gifts as an evocative songwriter, darkly comical lyricist, and one of the most blazing guitarists on the planet. And unlike many of his '60s-era contemporaries, he continues to produce new songs that stand with his best work. Jaws will drop and men will get misty eyed this week as Thompson delivers such classics as "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," the powerful Iraq War lament "Dad's Gonna Kill Me," and "Cooksferry Queen" in a solo acoustic setting for two nights.