Nick Lowe reads a lot … That Old Magic sort of reviewed

September 26, 2011


The Old Magic
Nick Lowe
Yep Rock

If you offered me any voice in pop music to have as my very own, I’m not sure I wouldn’t take Nick Lowe’s.

He’s certainly figured out an answer to the old puzzle of how to grow up gracefully while remaining relevant to a pop audience — the 62-year-old Lowe only occasionally raves it up on his latest, the solid, enheartening The Old Magic, an album of tender, lovelorn ballads delivered with the exquisite, crooning care of a 21st century Nat King Cole. I started out loving Lowe in the 1970s for his songwriting, his jump cut melodies and wry, ironic twists of phrase and now it seems I yearn to bask in his weathered silk voice, which has turned out to be a much better instrument that I took it for back then. (Had I heard this in the 1970s, I probably would have derisively called it countrypolitan, but then again, I’m beginning to reassess Jack Greene.)

Lowe’s writing is still sharp — check out the stinging opening lines of “Checkout Time,” the extended simile in ”House For Sale“and the palpable ache of “I Read a Lot” — and his taste is unimpeachable. (He covers Tom T. Hall’s “Shame on the Rain,” Elvis Costello’s “The Poisoned Rose” and Big Sandy bassist Jeff West’s “You Don’t Know Me at All.”)

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