Nils Lofgren Sacred Weapon

Always the usher, never the groom. That has rather been the case with Nils Lofgren’s now 36 year long musical career. He remains best known to rock fans as the skilled guitarist sideman to the likes of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen (an eight-year stint in the E Street Band), but he has always pursued a parallel path as a solo singer-songwriter. He scored some commercial success in the mid-’70s with the superb Nils Lofgren and Cry Tough discs, but has never come close to duplicating that. Sacred Weapon will also likely fly under the radar, but it is a workmanlike and, at times, a shining effort. His popularity amongst his peers is shown via guest appearances from Willie Nelson, Martin Sexton, David Crosby and Graham Nash, while Lofgren plays a wide range of instruments. Accordion, glockenspiel, dobro and dulcimer impart a roots-y flavour to some of his material, while his guitar playing is typically fluent. It’s a musically eclectic work, one that features underlying themes of spirituality, love and courage. Nils has a warm voice that oozes integrity, and this helps compensate for the occasional lapse into lyrical banality (as on "Pay Your Woman” and "Can’t Take the Rock”). "Tried And True” is a tribute to late football great Walter Payton, while "Frankie Hang On” returns to the popular Lofgren theme of the war veteran. Shame about the grotesque cover art. (Park The Van)