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Sweet And Lowe Down
As he gears up for a date with Vicar Street on February 15, Nick Lowe shares anecdotes about Wilco, Elvis Costello and his father-in-law Johnny Cash.
Roisin Dwyer, 31 Jan 2012
“Even when Carlene and I split it didn’t make any difference,” smiles Nick Lowe reminiscing about his parents-in-law Johnny Cash and June Carter. “And they were the same with all their ex-sons-in-law... of which there were plenty! Once you got your feet under the table with them you were family and you had to really, really do something horrible to change that. If I were John there were one or two of those ex-sons-in-law I would have set the dogs on! It was always (affects American twang), ‘Ah well maybe he had a bit of bad luck!’”
Hot Press’ chat with the veteran singer-songwriter is filled with such anecdotes: fantastical tales of producing The Damned and Elvis Costello, the Stiff Records years, his unlikely friendship with Curtis Stigers and recent tour dates with Wilco. Lowe is unfailingly polite and surprisingly modest for an artist of his stature.
Since his early days in the ‘60s with pub rockers Brinsley Schwarz, Lowe has carved quite a unique path through new wave, punk, pop, rock and country. Currently he is on the promo trail in advance of his visit to these shores next month. As well as hits such as ‘Heart Of The City’ and ‘So It Goes’ we can expect a bevvy of treats from his recent long-player The Old Magic, a country/lo-fi/rockabilly affair replete with beguiling harmonies and his trademark wit.
One of the standout tracks is a sublime cover of Jeff West’s ‘You Don’t Know Me At All’. As an oft-misunderstood artist is this a cri de coeur of sorts one wonders?
“Er… I just thought it was a good little song and I could do a nifty version!” smiles Nick. “But yeah, I don’t think people really understand what I do and it’s my own fault. I have always positioned myself outside the mainstream, I have never been a very good joiner-inner. Every time I've seen myself mentioned in the same breath as several other people I have always jumped in the other direction with the result that nobody really gets what I do… I’m not really sure I do myself!”