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Master lyricist goes rock'n'roll in latest visit to Newcastle.

ONE of the sharpest lyricists currently at work on the music scene, Nick Lowe, comes to Sage Gateshead (Hall 2) this week. This lyricist, bassist, singer, producer ploughs his own furrow, and his latest incarnation simply adds yet another dimension to his sparkling and expansive CV. The man has more facets than the Koh-i-Noor diamond.

For next Thursday night's show, the Surrey-born Lowe has assembled his Quality Rock & Roll Revue, which comprises him and Los Straitjackets, who have quite a pedigree themselves.

The Nashville-based band, formed in 1988, developed a cult following for their hybrid of instrumental rock'n'roll, rockabilly, surf-guitar and more - all performed in trademark Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling masks!

Lowe himself, of course, is a renowned devotee of '50s rock and country music, although that is but one aspect of his musical endeavours. After school, he formed the '60s band Kippington Lodge, making several singles with his school friend, Brinsley Schwarz, before adopting the latter's name as their band name.

Lowe's song-writing was to the fore even at this stage and the Brinsley Schwarz band recorded two of his best-known songs - (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding and Cruel To Be Kind - both songs were also covered by other artists.

Brinsley Schwarz became pioneers of the London pub-rock scene but after six albums, Lowe opted to work with Welsh guitarist Dave Edmunds in Rockpile, and they recorded an album together plus the hit-single I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock and Roll).

Nick's debut solo album, Jesus Of Cool (Re-titled Pure Pop For Now People in the USA), was released in 1978 and made the UK album chart and the lower reaches of the US chart; the single I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass reached the top-10 in the UK.

Lowe has released another dozen or so albums but he has appeared on countless sessions as a sideman (ranging from John Lee Hooker to Wilco) and also produced artists such as Elvis Lowe's songs been covered scores of it's surprising the calibre lyrics Costello (eight albums), Graham Parker, The Pretenders, The Damned, his former wife Carlene Carter, John Hiatt, Johnny Cash (who was his father-in-law for 11 years), Paul Carrack, Dr Feelgood and others.

Among the critically-praised solo records, Nick found time for a side project in the '90s with the "all-star" band Little Village, which comprised Lowe as the sole Englishman on bass and vocals, plus American "royalty" in Ry Cooder (guitars/ vocals), John Hiatt (guitar/vocals) and the drummer par excellence, Jim Keltner.

by artist and hardly given of his The band was originally assembled to record Hiatt's Bring The Family album, but they toured internationally as a unit and also recorded a self-titled album in 1992.

Lowe's songs have been covered by scores of other artists and it is hardly surprising, given the calibre of his lyrics. His songs can be tender, astute, witty and caustic, but they bear the mark of a craftsman regardless of the genre in which he writes.

His early work for Stiff Records was proto-punk (like the song, So It Goes) and his mid-'90s album, The Impossible Bird, was pure country - yet he could deliver R'n'B clout too, with the Dr Feelgood classic Milk and Alcohol.

Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets recently released a new four-track EP - called Love Starvation/Trombone - and there is a new biography of Lowe (Cruel To Be Kind - The Life & Music of Nick Lowe), by musician/writer Will Birch, due in a couple of months from now.

The book is replete with quotes from some of his collaborators over the years and is sure to be as entertaining and informative as most of Lowe's songs.

The accomplished Kentucky singer/song-writer Dawn Landes opens the show. She has five albums to her name and has collaborated with Justin Townes Earle, Will Oldham and others and was in the touring band of Sufjan Stevens.

On Wednesday night, the folksinger and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Rheingans has a show in the same Hall 2. Rheingans has recorded with her sister, Anna, and with the band Lady Maisery (with Hannah James and Hazel Askew), and on the Songs of Separation project with Eliza Carthy and Karine Polwart.

Sheffield-based Rheingans has won a couple of BBC Folk Awards - for Best Album and Best Original Song - and has been nominated five times. Her new work is called Dispatches on the Red Dress and integrates story-telling, songs, fiddles, banjo, guitar and some live looping and recorded birdsong, which BBC's Mark Radcliffe described as "spectacularly beautiful."

released or so he has countless as a ranging to Graham The The former wife John Hiatt, Johnny "(the The Hiatt's Bring but they toured Lowe's songs have been covered by scores of artist and it's hardly surprising given the calibre of his lyrics

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Nick Lowe

Dawn Landes

Rowan Rheingans
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 7, 2019
Words:808
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