Normally we prefer to stick to the convention of not talking Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but Nick Lowe has made it way too tempting this year. His Quality Street record arrived last week and it’s brilliant! Definitely the Mbird pick for this holiday season. To wit:
P.S. In the great-job-internet department, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Two delightful surprises that just couldn’t wait til tomorrow’s round-up, both from the world of what is not-so-affectionately known as “dad-rock”. First, there’s the absolutely immaculate (!) first taste of Mbird fave Nick Lowe’s forthcoming Christmas record, “I Was Born In Bethlehem,” an offertory in the making if I’ve ever heard one. The song is the product of Nick imagining what it would be like to encounter Jesus in the seat next to him on an airplane and asking, “So, what do you do?” USA Today, who debuted the track yesterday described it as, “the kind of plainspoken retelling of the Nativity that [Nick's one-time father-in-law] Johnny Cash might have enjoyed, humanizing Jesus but never diminishing him.” Favorite line is the final one: “I’ve done what I can/To be there when a man/can’t find a friend/I was born in Bethlehem”.
Secondly, the great Grunge-father in the sky must have read our Nirvana tribute–why else would he smile on us as sweetly as he has with the new Pearl Jam single, “Sirens.” Mortality has inspired a number of Eddie Vedder’s finest songs over the years, and this one ranks right up there with the very best, even if it sounds dangerously Coldplay-ish in parts. But Eddie proves he can still tingle spines with that inimitable voice of his, especially when given lines like: “If I think too much/ I can get over-/whelmed by the grace by which we live/ our lives with death over our shoulders.”
1. A supremely powerful story about the forgiveness of one’s enemies over on CNN. It concerns Mark Anthony Stroman, a white supremacist on death row in Texas for a slew of hate crimes, including murder, that he committed just after 9/11. One of the men that he shot during his spree, a Muslim named Rais Bhuiyan, is publicly pleading for Stroman’s life, going so far as to travel Paris to ask the European Parliament to file a formal request that Texas commute Stroman’s sentence to life in prison, ht JD:
Bhuiyan believes that his attacker does not deserve to die…
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Last week’s long-awaited reissue of Nick Lowe’s classic 1979 Labour of Lust record brought to light a previously unseen documentary about its recording, “Born Fighters.” At the time, Nick was a member of Rockpile, a group whose one album under their own name tells only a fraction of their story. In fact, the closest corollary one could find would probably be the Traveling Wilburys, in that their short-lived collaboration was incredibly fruitful, with the creative juice overflowing into a number of other successful ventures. Over the three year period from 1978 to 1980, Rockpile (Lowe, Dave Edumunds, Billy Bremner and…
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In 2002, The A/V Club ran a column called “Is There a God?”where they asked a bunch of celebrities, presumably as part of their regular interviews, the God question point blank. While my favorite answer was probably from American Movie guru Mark Borchardt (Q: Is there a God? MB: Why ask me?), my second favorite (tied with Dave Chappelle and Steven Wright) was definitely from New Wave deity Nick Lowe.
The Onion: Is there a God?
Nick Lowe: [Long pause.] Yes.
It’s a wonderful answer, and very much in keeping with modesty that has always been present on his records, and I’m talking…
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A lot of people don’t know that Nick Lowe was married to Johnny Cash’s step-daughter, Carlene Carter. Here’s Johnny doing one of Nick’s songs, “The Beast In Me”, which I think was also featured in an episode of The Soprano’s. It’s pretty powerful: