LOWE COUNTRY-THE SONGS OF NICK LOWE.

LOWE COUNTRY-THE SONGS OF NICK LOWE.

Despite enjoying a career that’s lasted nearly fifty years, Nick Lowe’s music still hasn’t found the wider audience it deserves. His biggest hit came in 1978, when I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass reached number seven in Britain. A year later, in 1979, Cruel To Be Kind reached number twelve in Britain and America. It looked like Nick Lowe’s was about to enjoy a successful solo career.

Commercial success was nothing new to Nick Lowe. He had enjoyed a degree of success with Brinsley Schwarz. They had started life as Kippington Lodge in 1969, However, in 1970 the group changes its name to Brinsley Schwarz. Great things were forecast for Brinsley Schwarz.

Their manager Dave Robinson of the Famepushers agency, got the band a vast amount of publicity. With Dave hyping his new band, he secured Brinsley Schwarz the opening for Van Morrison and Quicksilver Messenger Service at two concerts at the prestigious Filmore East in New York in November 1970. Dave Robinson even planed to fly a plane load of journalists out to review the concerts. Things didn’t go to plan.

When Brinsley Schwarz arrived in New York a few days early, they encountered visa problems. So they headed to Canada to practise in a small airplane. Meanwhile, the plane flying the journalists in was delayed. By the time the journalists arrived, they had made good use of the free bar. Brinsley Schwarz arrived to discover they were using hired instruments. This resulted in a performance that wasn’t their finest hour. The invited journalists didn’t hold back, and slated the performance. These journalists had previous with Brinsley Schwarz.

Back in April 1970 Brinsley Schwarz released their eponymous debut album Brinsley Schwarz was an album where country rock and pub rock collided head on. Critics described the music as drawing inspiration from The Band, C.S.N.Y., Buffalo Springfield and Yes. Reviews weren’t good. Far from it. They weren’t impressed by Brinsley Schwarz. That’s why Dave Robinson arranged the trip to America ahead of the release of Brinsley Schwarz’s sophomore album.

Brinsley Schwarz’s sophomore album Despite It All was released in December 1970. It was another mixture of country rock and pub rock. Again, critics weren’t impressed by Brinsley Schwarz’s music. However, Brinsley Schwarz were proving a popular live draw. So Brinsley Schwarz concentrated on playing liven and didn’t released another album for over a year.

When Brinsley Schwarz returned in February 1972, with their third album Silver Pistol, It was a much more eclectic album, with Brinsley Schwarz combining country, folk, pop, psychedelia and rock. Ironically, given the more understated sound, many people latched onto the the title-track. Silver Pistol had a pub rock sound, and launched the pub rock era. This proved to be the direction Brinsley Schwarz headed in. 

After over a year without releasing an album, Brinsley Schwarz released their second album on 1972 in September. Nervous On The Road was mainly, an album of pub rock. There was a nod to classic rock. However, Brinsley Schwarz thought that pub rock was the future. That’s despite none of their first four albums selling in vast quantities.

Just over a year later, Brinsley Schwarz released Please Don’t Ever Change in October 1973. It featured several cover versions, including the Goffin-King penned title-track. Critics referred to Please Don’t Ever Change as Brinsley Schwarz’s finest album. Despite this, and the addition of tracks covered by The Beatles and The Crickets, commercial success continued to elude Brinsley Schwarz. 

The lack of commercial success was having an effect on the members of Brinsley Schwarz. They were a hugely popular live band on the pub circuit. However, they weren’t selling albums in any great quantities. Despite this, very few people realised when Brinsley Schwarz entered the studio in April 1974, it would the last time they did so.

Recording of The New Favourites Of… Brinsley Schwarz took until May 1974. Producing the album was a new face, Dave Edmunds. This would prove significant.

The addition of Dave Edmunds was a masterstroke, He produced a much more polished album. It was well received by critics. However, The New Favourites Of… Brinsley Schwarz didn’t sell well. Brinsley Schwarz continued for another year, before disbanding in 1975. For Nick Lowe, this was the start of his solo career.

1976 saw the release of Nick Lowe’s debut single So It Goes. It was the first single released on the newly formed Stiff Records. While it failed commercially in Britain, So It Goes just missed out on the US Billboard 100. So It Goes stalled at 109. It was a case of so near but so far. 

A year later, in 1978, Nick Lowe enjoyed what would be the biggest hit of his career with I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass. It reached number seven in Britain and featured on his debut album 1978 Jesus Of Cool. This was the first of fourteen studio albums Nick Lowe released. They’ve played an important part in a recent project Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe.

Recently, Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe was released by Fiesta Red Records. Part of the proceeds go to the victims of the Nashville Floods and the Austin and Bastrop wildfires. These worthy clauses are being helped thirteen artists. They range from up-and-coming singers, to the great and good of Americana and country music, Each of themm cover songs from the Nick Lowe songnbook. This includes Caitlin Rose, Robert Ellis, Amanda Shires, Hayes Carl, Erin Enderlin, Colin Gilmore, Lori McKenna and Ron Sexsmith. They cover what’s a mixture of Nick Lowe’s best known songs and some of the hidden gems from his discography.

Caitlin Rose’s version of Lately I’ve Let Things Slide opens Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe. This is a track from Nick’s 2010 album The Convincer. It’s one of Nick’s best albums of recent years, and showcases his skill as a singer, songwriter and producer. Lately I’ve Let Things Slide is given a makeover by Caitlin. Her vocal is tinged with sadness and despair. Behind her, her band add a country-tinged backdrop. This combination results in a beautiful cover of a minor classic from the Nick Lowe songbook.

The Parson Red Heads chose to cover Don’t Lose Your Grip On Love. It’s a track Nick penned for Brinsley Schwarz’s 1972 album Nervous On The Road. Heartfelt. That’s the best way to describe this ballad. Elements of Americana  and Alt-Country are combined by The Parson Red Heads to create a heartfelt an wistful ballad.

Robert Ellis covers All Men Are Liars on Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe. It was released as a single by Nick in 1990, produced by Dave Edmunds. Twenty-five years later, and Robert Ellis breathes life and meaning into this lesser known Nick Lowe song.

I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass gave Nick Lowe the biggest single of his career when it reached number seven in Britain. Thirty-eight years later, Amanda Shires delivers a slow, spacious version of Nick’s biggest hit. She accentuates lyrics. Her band add an understated accompaniment, It allows Amanda’s vocal to take centre-stage, where it rightly belongs. Over the next four minutes, Amanda makes the song her own, and for me, delivers the definitive version.

With the whole of the Nick Lowe songbook to choose from, Jeff The Brotherhood go leftfield, and choose Marie Provost. It’s a track from Nick’s 1978 debut album Jesus Of Cool. Here, , Jeff The Brotherhood take the song in a very different direction from the original. Elements of Alt-Country and Americana shine through as Jeff The Brotherhood deliver a heart wrenching rendition of Marie Provost. 

Hayes Carl chose to cover (I’m Gonna Start) Living Again If It Kills Me. This was a song Nick Lowe and Carlene Carter Hayes cowrote with Dave Edmunds for his 1981 album Twangin…Here, Hayes Carl doesn’t so much deliver the lyrics, but lives them.

Country singer Erin Enderlin covers Lover Don’t Go from Nick Lowe’s 1994 album The Impossible Bird. She delivers a truly impassioned rendition. So good is her rendition, that you’ll want to hear to hear from Erin Enderlin.  

Originally, Nick Lowe penned When I Write The Book for Rockpile’s 1980 album Seconds Of Pleasure, Later, Elvis Costello recorded what’s regarded by many as the definitive version. of When I Write The Book, The Unsinkable Boxer’s country tinged cover takes the song in a totally new direction, one that reinvents and reinvigorates the song.

Probably, the most left-field choice on Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe is You Make Me, which Colin Gilmore covers. It’s hardly Nick’s best known song. However, it’s one of the most underrated. You Make Me is given an understated and melancholy makeover by Colin Gilmore. 

Straght out of Nashville. That describes Chatham County Line’s cover of Heart of the City. This was a track from Nick Lowe’s 1978 debut album Jesus Of Cool. Chatham County Line reinvent the track, They deliver a with an impassioned, soulful remake of Heart of the City. It’s straight outta Nashville.

Twenty-five years ago, Nick Lowe released his Party Of One album in 1990. It featured What’s Shakin’ On The Hill, which Lori McKenna covers. It’s just Lori accompanied by an acoustic guitar and harmonies. That’s all that needed to deliver a beautiful, country rendition of What’s Shakin’ On The Hill. 

Back in 1979, that Nick Lowe enjoyed a minor hit with Cracking Up. It reached just thirty-four in the British charts, Despite that, many regard it as one of Nick’s finest songs. Griffin House’s cover stays true to original. It’s full of nervous energy as Griffin House combines elements of alt rock and Americana.

Closing Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe is Ron Sexsmith’s Where’s My Everything? It’s a track from Nick’s 2010 album The Impossible Bird. Accompanied by his guitar  Ron delivers lyrics bristling with biting social comment. Given the lyrics are just as relevant today, it’s a fitting way to close Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe.

That’s the story of Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe. It’s not just a compilation that pays homage to one of the most underrated singer, songwriter and producer’s of his generation. No. Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe is also trying to raise money for some very worthy causes. 

Part of the proceeds of  Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe go to the victims of the Nashville Floods and the Austin and Bastrop wildfires. For these very worthy causes, thirteen artists came together. 

They range from up-and-coming singers, to the great and good of Americana and country music covered Nick Lowe’s songs.This includes Caitlin Rose, Robert Ellis, Amanda Shires, Hayes Carl, Erin Enderlin, Colin Gilmore, Lori McKenna and Ron Sexsmith. These artists breath new life and meaning into some of Nick Lowe’s songs. They also take the tracks in an entirely new direction. 

Most of the songs head on Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowein the direction of country or Americana. The tracks are perfectly suited to this musical detour, and show a new side to these thirteen tracks from the Nick Lowe songbook. That’s not all. Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe may introduce Nick’s music to a wider audience. 

Sadly, Nick Lowe’s music never reached the same audience as some of contemporaries. Especially, Elvis Costello, whose careers began at the same time. Although Nick Lowe has flown under the musical radar, he’s enjoyed a long career as a singer, songwriter and producer. He’s penned tracks for everyone from Johnny Cash, Paul Carrack, Elvis Costello and pub rockers Dr. Feelgood. Nick has also produced John Hiatt, Carlene Carter, the Grammy nominated The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Pretenders, The Dammed, Dr. Feelgood and The Men They Couldn’t Hang. That’s another reason why Nick Lowe is so widely respected within the music industry. They recognise this talented musician’s musician, whose music can be heard on the newly released compilation, Lowe Country-The Songs Of Nick Lowe.

LOWE COUNTRY-THE SONGS OF NICK LOWE.

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