Nils Lofgren, "Old School"

>> Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nils Lofgren is one of those artists whose work I adore as a session player (especially his long stint with the E Street Band) but often can't cope with as a solo performer. He is an utterly phenomenal guitar player, just monster talented, but his efforts as a songwriter usually leave me cold and his singing voice is one that can be gorgeous as a backing or harmony vocal somewhere in a mix but I generally find it too thin and reedy to carry a whole song. (I'll cap to some inconsistency on the latter point: I have no problem with vocal performances from Lofgren's former-frequent-associate Neil Young, a singer who can make Lofgren sound like a baritone.)

But I really liked "Old School" when I heard it the other day. I don't know that I've heard another song where Lofgren snarls his way through the lyrics quite like that--I'm not saying he should try that all the time (it probably wouldn't work with a ballad, f'r'instance)--but it's a sound that works, and of course the ferocious dancing of his fingers on the guitar strings is ever wonderful. Not sure this track is enough for me to dare the whole album, but it's a strong cut and if you've listened to the whole record, you'll have to let me know how you feel about it.


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