Last week Nick Lowe tore up the Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina with his a-list band Los Straightjackets.
I never had the opportunity to catch Nick Lowe despite his long illustrious career that started over five decades ago. Naturally attracted to his hits, and having an affinity for “Cruel to be kind” to the point that it has been an earworm at times. One of those songs that you think about when you’re doing the dishes and doesn’t leave you for two days.I was excited to see and photograph Nick. He is a legend and we are at the time when you have to take every opportunity to see pioneers in the field.
I knew that Nick Lowe had been married to Johnny and June Carter Cash’s daughter Carlene Carter. I also knew that he had lived in Nashville for 15 years or so. I was very curious if he had any influence from living there, expecting some campy English classic pop-tunes and a little song and dance, Nick the 70 year old came out and delivered a strong two hour set of Honky Tonk with a spattering of old school Surf Rock.
Nick entertained and made jokes with the crowd delivered in his proper English accent. “I thought we were always Grey Eagle people (a venue holding 400 people)… Now we are in the Orange Peel. “We’re moving up!” Nick made sure to give credit to both venues telling the crowd. “They’re both great venues!”
I’ve been to both venues myself and he is correct. The Grey Eagle is an intimate setting while The Orange Peel stage is at least twice as big giving Los Straightjackets the opportunity to tear up the stage when Nick went to the side for a break after every five songs. This also made the show special because of the different styles, complimentary, but in and of themselves very different.
Lowe basically plays the better known tunes from his catalog including his second big hit “I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll)” while spattering in covers like Mary Robbins’ 1956 country single “You Don’t Owe Me a Thing”, as well an Elvis Costello tune or two. Lowe and Los Straitjackets played a few songs from their forthcoming EP including the title track of the record, “Love Starvation,” which was instant fan favorite.
Lowe collaborating with Los Straitjackets provides a wonderful fun evening with classy musicians! I left the show happy to have had the experience of Nick’s charm, humor, storytelling, and musicianship, excited to catch him again at a future date. www.nicklowe.com