Interview with Jez Lowe

Jez Lowe is a folk artist hailing from the North East of England He has been making great music since 1980, and warrants your attention if you like strong lyrics a charming voice and beautiful folk guitar.

When did you decide you were going to make your living playing music?

J – It was always a hope, but it was a gradual decision. I studied at college for a few years and by the time I finished that, I knew I was going to give it a go as a profession.

How do you write your lyrics?

I keep a note-book and a small tape recorder and take notes for both lyrics and melodies as I travel around, then let them ferment until I make the big step of putting things down on paper. It can take a long time, or it can happen very quickly.

What are you favorite lyrical themes?

People and relationships, and the context in which they occur. Often with a background of North east England where I come from.

What kind of effect do you think The Internet has had on music?

Good and bad. The accessability has good sides and bad sides. I don’t worry about “rip-offs” or illegal downloads really. But the easiness for people to make music and present it has perhaps diluted the quality of the finished product. But also given us some great new songs!

Do you follow any new bands or singers?

Always try to hear everyone that I hear about. Lots of great new players emerging all the time on the acoustic scene.

Why do you think the music you make is important?

I don’t really think of it in those terms. I get a kick out of doing it, and from other people enjoying it. When I hear other performers talking about their stuff as being “significant and important” it just puts me off.

Do you see yourself as part of a scene or artistic movement?

Part of a world-wide folk movement.

What do you think about Obama’s election?

Thrilling. Fresh, clean, hopeful – what more can we ask for? I hope America gives him the long-term chance he deserves, and the world deserves.

What has kept you making music all these years?

I just love it. It’s the most important thing for me, rightly or wrongly. Sometimes I forget to eat because I’m too busy thinking about playing music.

How many instruments can you play?

Mainly just guitar-type things, plus harmonica and a bit of keyboards and tin-whistle. Banjo, mandolin, cittern.

When are you playing in The United States again?
I’m at Old Songs Festival near Albany NY in late June with a bunch of other gigs on the east coast. Can’t wait to come back!

The Graham Bond Organization-Solid Bond

The Graham Bond Organization Solid Bond:

A collection of unreleased tracks from an oft forgotten British rocker. The rock and R&B tunes are strong, often reminiscent of The Band. The instrumental, jazzier tunes aren’t so hot, but they’re not terrible. A solid listen I just wish there were less instrumentals.

Rating: 11/15 rock guys trying to play jazz.

Frank Zappa-Wazoo!

Frank Zappa Wazoo:

A live disk from Zappa’s 1972 touring band. Twenty members playing everything from marimba to sousaphone do wonderful takes on some Zappa classics. Not until his final tour in 1988 would Zappa have a horn section this powerful again, nor a band so solid. The music is challenging but fun, traversing the gamut of Zappa’s genre bending intellect. It must have been an amazing night.

Rating: 15/15 Peccaries

M. Templeton and aA. Munson-Acre Loss

M. Templeton and aA. Munson Acre Loss:

Drifty guitars and banjos submerged in electronic noise. Cool to space to, plus the dynamics are interesting. For fans of Fennesz and Tim Hecker. Munson’s accompanying film fits the music perfectly relying on nature footage and milk being poored in coffee etc… All in all a really cool collaboration.

Rating:14/15 fitting images

Terry Riley-Requiem for Adam

Terry Riley Requiem for Adam:

A piece performed largely by the Kronos Quartet. It features beautiful melodies and intelligently juxtaposed odd meters. Riley also lends some beautiful piano work. Overall mournful yet optimistic in mood, the only downside to this disk is the second movement where Riley uses samples of bells and metal percussion to create a big clanking mess, that sounds more than a little dated.

Rating: 13/15

Clem Snide-Hungry Bird

Clem Snide Hungry Bird:

Not bad, they sound like a toned down Radiohead. The lyrics are strong, as are the vocals. The only issues here is that they could have easily cut a couple minutes of plodding riffs and poorly placed falsetto oohings out of many tracks. Either that or they have to do something different in those extra two minutes.

Rating:11/15 superfluous riffs

Lafayette Gilchrist-Soul Progressin’

Lafeyette Gilchrist Soul Progressin’:

An odd mix of soul music and experimental jazz, that doesn’t quite work. There are some interesting moments, but overall the album tends to lag and wallow in overly dissonant themes

Rating: 10/15 Not sure what you’re going for points