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Nils Lofgren - Weathered (Cattle Track Road Records)

22 August 2020

At this surreal time, it goes without saying that music fans miss live concerts. Likewise, and the financial aspects aside, musicians miss that same interaction, the magic in the air that can only be found at a live event. Nobody knows this better than the legendary Nils Lofgren. Nis, who started his career in 1968, literally grew up on stage, and lived his life there, in that sense you can only imagine the almost separation anxiety that he and others of his kind feel. Since the start of his career he has appeared on some of the most essential albums of the past five decades, and played alongside some of the greats in the process. For example Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band, Crazy Horse, Grin, Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, and then there is of course his own solo career to consider. 

Nils is consistently busy, and consistently brilliant. On the back of last year’s acclaimed tribute album to Lou Reed, Blue With Lou, which contains songs written with the late Reed. Nils along with a band of extreme talent hit the road to support it. This outfit featured Nils’ brother Tom, Kevin McCormick, Cindy Mizelle, and legendary drummer Andy Newmark. And the result of these shows make up this latest, live release. 

Weathered, released on the 21st of August  is an astounding live double set. Across 16 tracks, Nils and the Weathered band let loose. From the first guitar crank of “Daddy Dream” (Wonderland) the band locks into a tight groove that blisters into one-hour and fifty-minutes of bliss. It sounds exceptional, retaining a rawness, and the band are just so professional they keep it flowing beautifully. Together, they have the skill to improvise without losing their way, and knowledge of how to pull it back in. The voice of Nils Lofgren, like the man himself, has aged gracefully, and sounds soulful and bluesy. This of course is complemented by the soaring vocal lines from Cindy Mizelle, who provides an extra depth to the proceedings. 


Buzzcocks

Sticking with the Wonderland album, “Daddy Dream” is followed by “Across The Tracks”. An incendiary retelling that overtakes the original version, while Nils’ soloing here, like throughout the album is thrilling. The recent Blue With Lou tracks mesh nicely with the older material. The distorted firecracker “Rock Or Not”, harks to the Crazy Horse days but tributes Reed with the right amount of density. The slow burning “Too Blue To Play” is as passionate here as on the album. The laughs that kick off Side 2 are a signal of how relaxed and enjoyable the shows were for the musicians. That vibe of high-spirited performing comes across on every inch of the recording.  “Don’t Let Your Guard Down” from the same Blue With Lou album begins the second half respectfully, before the guitar acrobats of “Give” turn things up a further notch. 



The fresh takes on old classics are a wonderful experience, such as “No Mercy” from ’79s Nils. Here Nils tears the ass out of the guitar with some mind blowing fret work. The harmonics that open up a loose jam into “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” are an example of the aforementioned improv this band can execute so effortlessly. Weathered comes to a close with an explosive eleven-minute version of the ’77 signature “I Came To Dance”. For the finale, everything is thrown into the mix, including an attacking bass solo by Kevin McCormick. Yes, Weathered will give music fans the atmospheric setting they miss. It will make you hungry for the actual thing, but that does not take away from the actual strength of the album. 

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Disc: 1
1.Daddy Dream
2.Across The Tracks
3.Rock Or Not
4.Girl In Motion
5.Walkin’ Nerve
6.Too Many Miles
7.Too Blue To Play
8.Big Tears Fall
Disc: 2 
1.Don’t Let Your Guard Down
2.Give
3.Tender Love
4.Like Rain
5.No Mercy
6.Mind Your Own Business
7.Jam / Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone
8.I Came To Dance