May 09--Some fathers and sons bond over fishing, throwing a ball around or working on cars. The Thompsons trade riffs.
Tim Thompson is a national-level guitarist whose deepest belt notch is a first-place win in 2008 at the Super Bowl of fingerstyle guitar competitions, the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kan. He also has been featured in national music publications, including Taylor Guitars' Wood & Steel Magazine, Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine and Just Jazz Guitar Magazine.
At 19, his son Myles hasn't yet filled his own trophy case with fiddling accolades, but with a bow in his hands, he's capable of keeping pace, note for note, with his dad.
"I've learned a lot from watching him, seeing how he thinks when he's arranging a song," Myles said as he and his father prepared to hit the road for a date in West Virginia. "He's still teaching me how to do stuff, but I like to think that I'm pulling my weight a little more as I get older."
Tonight, May 9, the Thompsons will take the stage at Barking Legs Theater, where they will play music spanning the breadth of the Americana genre. Their sets, almost exclusively of original material, incorporate elements of folk, jazz, swing and rock and will feature a mix of songs and fiery instrumentals with a heavy emphasis on improvisation.
"I just love being able to make stuff up because then it's your own, your own lick you made up," Myles said.
The younger Thompson began touring with his father at 14. At the time, he was still in school, but when his principal called a conference to address his consistent absences, his father pulled him out so he could be home-schooled and continue playing.
Since graduating last year, Myles has thrown himself full-time behind music. He's enjoying it, he said, and he's being kept on his toes thanks to the introduction of singing to what previously was a primarily instrumental set.
Until last October, he didn't know he possessed a vocal ability beyond what was fit for impromptu performances in the shower or car. But after seeing how people respond to it, it's clear that songs are critical to keeping an audience's attention, he said.
"Some gigs, if you don't sing at all, they won't hire you," he said. "We have found that singing more is important; people are into singing."
Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
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