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New Music: Nick Lowe: "Long Limbed Girl" [Stream]

There's a difference between nostalgia and reminiscence. With his history, Lowe could easily indulge in the former: he was, after all, the house producer at Stiff Records and is credited with pioneering a certain strand of the British punk sound. He collaborated many times with Elvis Costello and Dave Edmunds, was Chryssie Hynde's lover, married into the Carter-Cash family. He saw it all crash, but lived to tell, launching a comeback in the mid-1990s playing American roots music. He hasn't changed his sound much since then, but even 13 years after The Impossible Bird, his music sounds lived-in-- casual as a picnic, laidback as a day in the garden-- rather than tired or rote or, worse, nostalgic.

With its easygoing country shuffle and gently plaintive horns, "Long Limbed Girl", from his new album At My Age, is eloquently plainspoken about reminiscing-- more specifically, about having a good relationship with your own past. Lowe recounts finding an old photograph of an old flame in his desk drawer: "It was a picture of a girl, tall and slender as a willow tree/ And she had her arms 'round me." He sings that second line proudly, happy to recognize his younger self. It's a fairly mundane set-up, and that's partly the point. The memories are hard to shake but not unwelcome, and his fondness is particularly poignant: "What happened after me? Did you find love eventually?/ And was it everything you hoped it would be?" That he'll never know makes the song all the more bittersweet.

[From At My Age; due June 26 on Yep Roc]

Posted by Stephen M. Deusner on Fri: 06-15-07: 10:00 AM CDT | Digg this article | Add to del.icio.us | Permalink

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