Nick Lowe At My Age

"I made an American squirm,” Nick Lowe sang back in 1979, in one of many very witty and tuneful songs he wrote and recorded in his pub rock and new wave days. It’s perhaps ironic that this Englishman is now making very American music, but it’s certainly not squirm inducing. After a fascinatingly chameleonic career (he produced Elvis Costello’s early albums), Lowe has comfortably settled into the role of honky tonk crooner, putting out understated but beautifully written albums (The Impossible Bird, Dig My Mood, The Convincer) that explore lust, infidelity, and the aging process with clarity and dry humour. This, his 12th solo disc, maintains the high standards of his work over the past decade. There’s no great range or power in Lowe’s voice but it casually sidles up to the listener, buys you a drink and tells you a story in a warm, charming way. It’s a short story too, given that ten of the 12 songs are under three minutes long. The longest cut, "Hope For Us All,” also sports the prettiest melody. The musicianship here is first-rate and subtle touches like the mariachi and Memphis horns feel on. "A Better Man” and "Long-Limbed Girl” keep things from getting too soporific, as does the ’50s pop feel of "Not Too Long Ago.” There’s a faint whiff of misogyny on "I Trained Her To Love Me” ("I’m only paying womankind back for all the grief I got”) but that’s a minor blemish on the face of another Lowe winner. At his age, he’s doing just fine. (Yep Roc)