Nick Lowe is a songwriterâ€™s songwriter. In fact, his most recognized song, “(Whatâ€™s So Funny â€˜Bout) Peace Love and Understanding,” was made famous by Elvis Costello. But Nick Lowe has always been a consistent archetype of â€œcoolâ€ amongst the indie-folk crowd, especially those with a little twang in their voice.Â So a tribute album from some of the hippest names in Americana and Nashvilleâ€™s underground alt-country scene should come as no surprise.
Although most of the tracks on Lowe Country: The Songs of Nick Lowe donâ€™t really deviate much from the originals, the best are those that bring their own voice to Loweâ€™s lyrics without sacrificing the songsâ€™ integrity. Hayes Carllâ€™s version of â€œIâ€™m Gonna Start Livinâ€™ Again if it Kills Meâ€ and Caitlin Roseâ€™s â€œLately Iâ€™ve Let Things Slideâ€ stand out as stellar interpretations. Chatham County Line serves up a newgrass-y take on â€œHeart of the City,â€ while Jeff the Brotherhood offers an atmospheric pop version of â€œMarie Provost.â€ A crooning â€œDonâ€™t Lose Your Grip on Loveâ€ by The Parson Red Heads is another gem.
Still, the problem with tribute albums is that they too often consist merely of standout tracks. Lowe Country: The Songs of Nick Lowe has plenty of great tracks, even for those unfamiliar with the originals, but like most tribute albums, there is little continuity. Regardless, Nick Lowe fans should appreciate the judicious treatment of his material, and Americana fans will certainly enjoy some of their favorite performers paying homage to a truly great songwriter.
Lowe Country:The Songs of Nick Lowe is out now on Fiesta Red Records.