Don Lowe- "Out Here"
The North Country, in all its wild glory, has birthed some fine and notable balladeers. Don Lowe is no exception. His second album, "Out Here", is a nostalgic work that takes the listener back to a place where the land is farmed, the times are simpler, and people wrench on their own tractors.
In this country-flavored Americana folk album, the North Dakota native sings in his gentle, weathered voice of high school sweethearts, hometowns and blue collar vices. Don't mistake the album for quaint, though, Don has a way with words that can make a listener cry one minute, and laugh out loud the next. "Last Call", the 4th track, is a beautifully written reminisce about visiting his hometown. Anyone from a place like this can identify with its vibe, and quiet humor. After all, isn't that what gets us by when living in a small town?
Each song on the album is its own whole story. They're truly different and special, and really deserve to be reviewed individually. Some album highlights include "Saratoga Springs" which speaks of luck and loss, the gambling habit of an average guy, down and out by virtue of his own 'luck', or poor choices. This one hit me especially deeply, as it seems just as much a picture of misplaced American hope and blind faith, as it is about betting on a horse. The 6th track, "Lakota Girl", conjures visions of flowing prairies and big skies. It's notable for the feel it imparts. Wild and free, it will really take you away.
My favorite track of the album is a song teeming with tongue-in-cheek humor, "Dinosaur Bones". In it, the protagonist (and simultaneously antagonist!) is challenged with thinking beyond his teachings. If you listen closely to the lyrics, it's also hilarious. I previewed it for Old Scratch, who laughed out loud, agreeing that it's as funny as it is eye-opening.
The music throughout the record is really well executed. In addition to being a great songwriter, Don is a heck of a rhythm guitarist. He doesn't need any fancy footwork to cover him, he just lays it down, and it's really solid! You'll find him accompanying himself on guitar when he plays live as a solo act. Backing vocals by Felicia Michael and Missy Alexander add a really great touch to the songs, especially harmonies on "The Lonely One", which lend a pretty, haunting edge to an already lovely song.
Don credits his hard work in the studio to completing the album, and it shows. It's a well-rounded, solid album, and his poetic songwriting is in turns conversational, affable and heartfelt. For all I could say about it, and there's a lot, the bottom line is that if you're a fan of singer-songwriter Americana, folk or country, you're in for a real treat.
You can have your own copy of the album by CD or digital download at all the usual online outlets, here's the link for Don's CdBaby page : http://www.cdbaby.com/m/cd/donlowe2
You'll have to get your own. 'Cause I'm sure not giving mine up!
Keep it wild! -The Dawg