herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Highs and lowes of nick's rock'n'roll career as he heads for dublin

The title of Nick Lowe's sublime 2007 solo album At My Age spoke volumes about the inevitability of slowing down when musicians reach a certain stage in their lives. At 57, Lowe had packed in quite a lot and toned things down to explore calmer paths.

Lowe's first foray into the music business came in the early '70s as part of the talented but catastrophically unfortunate Brinsley Schwarz, whose debut gig in the States is a legendary disaster story in the annals of Rock'n'Roll junkets.

Lowe stayed with the Brinsleys as London's pub-rock scene grew and 'Basher' -- so nicknamed after his motto "Bash it down and we'll tart it up later" became an in-demand producer. Having recorded the first single on the Stiff label, So it Goes/Heart of the City, Nick then produced the first British punk single, The Damned's New Rose, and went on to record The Pretenders, Graham Parker & the Rumour, Dr Feelgood and Elvis Costello.

Kickstarting a solo career, he had chart success with I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass and Cruel to Be Kind, before teaming up with Dave Edmunds in Rockpile. A rock band renowned for their offstage carousing, they were too combustible to last. Lowe found himself recording and marrying country singer Carlene Carter, so, for a couple of years he was Johnny Cash's son-in-law. Collaborations with Ry Cooder and John Hiatt followed. Then when Curtis Stigers covered his (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, a cheque for $1m landed on his doormat.

It couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke. As the title of his excellent new album says, The Old Magic is still there. >george Byrne

Nick Lowe plays Vicar Street on Wednesday

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