Lowe Country:The Songs of Nick Lowe
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
This isn’t the first Nick Lowe tribute album — 2001’s Labour of Love with contributions from higher profile acts such as Tom Petty, Marshall Crenshaw and Graham Parker beat it by 11 years—but it’s the first to feature primarily acoustic, country and roots interpretations of his songs. Because of a noticeable lack of recognizable names contributing Lowe covers, the scope of this 14 track set is considerably more modest, but no less enjoyable. These aren’t Lowe’s biggest hits since there’s no “I Knew the Bride” or “Cruel to Be Kind.” But shining a light on lesser known material such as “What’s Shakin’ on the Hill” (exquisitely performed by Lori McKenna), “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide” (Caitlin Rose) and “Where is My Everything” (a stark but touching version from Ron Sexsmith) show how deep Lowe’s catalog runs and reveals some dusty gems. Much of the material hews closely to the originals—a bluegrass “Heart of the City” from Chatham County Line is one of the exceptions–and it goes without saying that Lowe’s own versions remain the standard. Still, there is plenty to enjoy. You’ll probably want to check out other material from some of the more obscure artists and a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the victims of Nashville’s 2010 floods and last year’s Texas wild fires.