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Various Artists

Lowe Profile: A Tribute to Nick Lowe – 2005 (Brewery)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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This double-disc tribute to Nick Lowe comes to us courtesy of the efforts of SoCal rootsy power-popper and unabashed Lowe acolyte Walter Clevenger. Not surprisingly, given the room it has to work with, its offerings cover the breadth of Lowe's career, from his Brinsley Schwarz beginnings through the various phases of his solo career and touch upon both the expected and the obscure.

There's plenty of pop 'n' rock sounds here, from Terry Anderson's shades-o'-the-Faces take on "You Got the Look I like" and Rex Holmes & We Monster's smoking revision of "Homewrecker" to the sinewy power pop of Jamie Hoover on "American Squirm" and the Merseybeat flavor of Eugene Edward's turn through "The Ugly Things."

But roots/country fans may be more interested in the extent to which Lowe material turns out to lend itself to countrified readings. Foster and Lloyd reunite to supply their trademark sound and harmonies to "Without Love;" Rick Shea and Christy McWilson turn "Never Been in Love" into a hard shuffle filled with pedal steel and baritone guitar; Chris Gaffney brings a country-soul vibe to "Crying in My Sleep;" James Intveld infuses "Lonesome Reverie" with rockabilly cool; and Duane Jarvis' version of "Cupid Must Be Angry" is an impassioned reading of a fantastic song. Highly recommended for its pop and its country.