Saturday, 28 November 2015

Nils Lofgren - UK 2015 Face The Music Tour, album review

Lofgren Live

Any Nils Lofgren live album is superb because he is a superb musician, and this 2015 encapsulation of his UK tour delivers another in this consistent brilliance. We could take it that the playing will be exemplary - as it is - but it is also outstanding in sound quality.

I missed his gig at Bristol, sold out before I had realised, so this is some compensation. Lofgren is one of the genuine greats, the view of his occupation on the musical pedestal perhaps deflected somewhat by his other central role over the years in Springsteen's E Street Band. His own songwriting is memorable, and he is a consummate interpreter of others' work, making it distinctive by his vocals which to this day remain idiosyncratically boyish.

Then there is the guitar playing. I have written about this before: apart from his virtuoso talent he is singular, I believe, in the way he can play and sustain the harmonics on a guitar, acoustic and electric. On this album he is accompanied by regular multi-instrumentalist Greg Varlotta, with some great synth on New Holes in Old Shoes, sublime funky jazz trumpet on Wakin' Nerve, and the keyboard 'vocal' chorus on the always emotive Black Books.

There are two affectionate renditions of favourites - Miss You C for the late Clarence Clements, saxophonist with the E Street Band [and a sweet if sad anecdote about hearing of his death], and although not sung at every gig, the great Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitton's I Don't Want to Talk About It, this a beautiful cover, and personalised with how you broke Danny's heart...

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