Teddy Thompson needs to see a doctor. Pronto.

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Oh, sure, the ruddily handsome troubadour—who opens for Duncan Sheik at the Triple Door this Saturday, February 11—looks the picture of health. Judging from the clear, youthful, and slightly melancholy singing voice displayed on his sophomore album, Separate Ways (in U.S. stores February 21), there's nothing wrong with his throat, either. Nor is he fighting off carpal tunnel syndrome, since he can not only hold his own on the guitar with his father, folk-rock virtuoso Richard Thompson, but also recently toured as a member of Rosanne Cash's backing band.

No, young Thompson's predicament is less obvious. We're still waiting for the test results to come back, but either his heart has turned to stone, or his tear ducts are sealed shut. The symptoms? Thompson had dry eyes during Ang Lee's cinematic weeper Brokeback Mountain.

Thompson, who sings two songs on the film's best-selling soundtrack, including a buddy-buddy rendition of the classic "King of the Road" with his good friend Rufus Wainwright, got to see Brokeback long before commercial audiences. "I went with Rufus to a special screening the record label arranged for us." Having never read the E. Annie Proulx award-winning story for the New Yorker on which the cowboy romance is based, Thompson walked in with no prior knowledge of the story's twists. So did he weep like a baby as the plot unfolded? "No, not really."

"To be honest, we saw a rough cut," he admits. "And it had very little music," he adds, an absence that made him appreciate the power a good score (in this case, the Oscar-nominated work of Gustavo Santaolalla) lends a motion picture. "Also, it was very long. They probably cut at least a half hour out of the version we saw."

Wait. Does that mean Wainwright and Thompson enjoyed the private privilege of seeing the skinny-dipping scene in an unexpurgated form? "No," he chuckles. "You didn't miss anything." Thompson may not recognize that he himself is suffering from a medical condition, but he knows enough about basic anatomy to confirm that full-frontal male nudity did not feature in the rough cut he saw.

Having worked together extensively in the past (Wainwright and Thompson cowrote the song "Missing Children" on Thomson's 2000 self-titled debut, and they appear on each other's albums), cutting their genial duet proved a stress-free experience. "We did that very quickly, in just a couple of hours. You don't need to spend too much time plunking around on something like that."

"After all, it's 'only for a soundtrack,'" he jests. "Just a Roger Miller song, in a big, fat, Oscar-nominated movie. Nothing to worry about..."

Speaking of concern, don't fret too much about Thompson's medical condition. If Wainwright is to be believed, the only thing wrong with his friend is a shoddy memory. Because when the lights came up, recalls Wainwright, "[Teddy] said, 'I hated the movie, but I cried at the end.' So he does have a heart."

kurt@thestranger.com