Artist: Nils Lofgren
Album: UK 2015 Face The Music Tour
Label: Cattle Track Road Records
Release Date: 11/13/2015
Nils Lofrgren has always been an unassuming journeyman, a reliable musician and sideman, whose work with his various ensembles (Grin, Crazy Horse and, most famously of all, the E Street Band) has frequently overshadowed his many solo endeavors. That’s a shame really, given that those albums he’s released on his own reflect Lofgren’s ample skills as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter.
As a result, this album, culled from Lofgren’s U.K. acoustic tour this past January, serves as a sampler of sorts, from some seminal entries in his songbook to standout selections from his current catalogue. With accompaniment from multi-instrumentalist Greg Varlotta, Lofgren gives songs such as “Goin’ Back,” “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It,” “The Sun Hasn’t Set,” “Lost A Number” and “Shine Silently” pared back interpretations, while retaining the emotional resolve that defined them early on.
Still, the most moving entry here is Lofgren’s tribute to the late Clarence Clemons, “Miss You ‘C’,” a song that reflects the heartfelt conviction that has always characterized his best efforts. The sentiment is sincere, making this a masterful and memorable paean to a dearly departed colleague.
Granted, there have been a number of Lofgren live albums over the years – not to mention an extensive 2013 box set that was long overdue. All are well worth the price of admission. For that matter, the same can be said of each of his individual studio albums as well. Any one of them would serve as a worthy primer when it comes to sampling Lofgren’s largess. Nevertheless, UK 2015 Face the Music Tour is an exceptional effort, and in fact, an excellent place to begin.
– Lee Zimmerman