Geordie singer-songwriter RJ Thompson
has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence in the last year. Living proof that a bit of hard graft can take you anywhere, RJ has recently shot from open mic nights around Tyneside to sharing the bill with Jools Holland and Joss Stone at The Royal Albert Hall.
The list of accolades goes on for RJ, with his previous releases receiving high praise from BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music. He’s also managed to score endorsement from Lowden Guitars and Two Rock Amplification.
Growing up on a varied musical diet that included The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen. After using only an old, battered red drum kit as his only musical outlet, RJ was inspired to pick up a guitar and write his first song after a U2 concert at the Manchester Evening News Arena. From there, the obsession grew to performing at any venue that would take a chance on him. Then one night, in a small club venue in Hartlepool, all the effort paid off. A sound engineer at an open mic night turned out to be working with ‘Live Aid’ organiser Midge Ure. He then submitted RJ as a support act, which led to another 30 shows touring with Midge around the UK and Europe.
Now looking forward to a year that includes a string of releases including a new studio album. Like many artists, RJ took the end of last year to reflect on the baffling state of the social and political world at present. In the month where President-Elect Donald Trump is due to be inaugurated into The White House, RJ felt this was the perfect time to share his cover of a classic Bob Dylan track. Undoubtedly a brave cover, but sure to still find favour among the Nobel Prize winners purist fan base. Drum-tight production is at the core of this cover, with Thompson’s anthemic vocal building the track to a glorious crescendo. Motivational music at its finest.
“Truth be told, I’ve struggled with this song for years, never truly knowing exactly the tone it was trying to set. At the time it was an anthem for change, but even Dylan allegedly admitted that he didn’t truly know its meaning. The events of the last year made me revisit the song, to me it stands up as the perfect anthem for the disenfranchised. A call to arms to people who are worried, fearful or angry with the lies and hatred that have been spread by our politicians, and certain sections of the media, for political and personal gain. The world feels a little less safe than it did 12 months ago, and less accommodating to people of varying backgrounds, and that to me is something worth standing up and singing against.”