A Fine Bottle of Nick

Most post rock band solo singers never manage to equal their early, rock band years. For example, while Paul Weller has had a rich and longstanding solo career following The Jam (and Style Council), I don’t think anyone would argue he has come close to matching The Jam. I’m still waiting for Grant-Lee Phillips to produce an entire album worth of material as consistent as some of his Grant Lee Buffalo material, although I think he has come much more closer than Weller. Does anyone expect Eddie Vedder to come close to Pearl Jam’s best?

Following his rock band years with Rockpile and Brinsley Schwarz, few artists have so gracefully aged from young long-haired rocker to gray-haired troubadour with such style as Nick Lowe. At one time, Lowe would have probably been at the top of any list of most under appreciated British rockers. That was then though, and this is now. His songs have been made famous by the likes of Elvis Costello (“(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding’), Johnny Cash (“The Beast in Me” and “Without Love”), Tom Petty (“Cracking Up”), The Connells (“Cruel to be Kind”) and countless others. Lowe is one the best songwriters around, bar none. Of late though, his own versions have garnered a rich, expanded reissue with his classic The Jesus of Cool and a new double CD greatest hits, with a limited edition DVD version too, titled, appropriately Quite Please: The New Best of Nick Lowe (Lowe’s previous “Best Of” served as introduction for so many…including myself).

I can honestly say that two of most memorable shows of my life have been seeing Lowe at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA (2001) and the Boulder Theatre in Boulder, CO just last year. While his music has changed over the years, there’s a easy argument to be made that its only gotten better with age. Quiet Please features the original version of “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout)” from Brinsley Schwarz, Rockpile’s version of “When I Write the Book,” and many of  his more contemporary marvels, such as “Has She Got a Friend?” and “I Trained Her to Love Me.”  Don’t worry, it also has classics such as “Cruel to be Kind,” “The Rose of England,” and “I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll.”  Always writing with a wry sense of humor about his well-chronicled female exploits (married awhile to Carlene Cash, stepdaughter of Johnny). Lowe, while now apparently settled down, and the proud father of 4-year old Roy Lowe (his first child), can still write songs of his labored, lascivious past, like “Long Limbed Girl.” Check out a live performance of it from a couple of years ago in London. And, here’s to Nick.


2 Responses to “A Fine Bottle of Nick”

  1. April 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Solid work! This makes me feel bad for never getting into the man.

    Post and get an email. That’s how it works, dude.

  2. 2 Rose
    April 25, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I never knew that much of Lowe’s work before I went to the Boulder show. I was totally impressed by both his lovely voice and the range of songs he’s written (I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know some now-classic songs were actually written by him).

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