Old School

Old School

by Nils LofgrenNils Lofgren


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As its title implies, getting older is on Nils Lofgren's mind for his first album of new material since 2006. Besides the title track, "60 Is the New 18," "Miss You Ray" (dedicated to Ray Charles), and "Ain't Too Many of Us Left" speak to the frustrations facing an aging rocker in a young man's game. To his credit, Lofgren doesn't modernize his style to endear himself for a younger audience, but has written 11 out of these dozen selections in the same melodic rock format that he's adhered to since his days in Grin. He's never been a great singer, but his voice has lost much of its high end, which makes him sound more grizzled than usual. Still, that generally works to his advantage since his veteran status allows him to comment on everything from the maturing of love to teens and their annoying habits. The distinctive electric guitar sound that made Lofgren so invaluable as a backing soloist to Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen is tamped down for the most part, although it weaves throughout songs that rely more on melody, lyrics, and singing than hotshot six-string work. Guest vocals from Paul Rodgers and Lou Gramm minimally enhance a few tracks, but Sam & Dave's Sam Moore shines on his duet for the chorus for "Ain't Too Many of Us Left," a song that also gives Lofgren a chance to unwind on guitar. Heartfelt ballads such as the lovely "When You Were Mine," the haunted memories of the closing "Why Me," the acoustic "Let Her Get Away," "Love Stumbles On"'s wistful recollection, and especially "Irish Angel" (the disc's only cover) work particularly well with Lofgren's grainy, somewhat compromised voice. Perhaps his advancing years have shifted Lofgren's focus from the rockers that used to dominate his albums to the slower, more reflective compositions here. Regardless, he's in good form; spirited on the rockers and appropriately melancholy on the softer material. He knows his shot at solo stardom is behind him but that doesn't stop him from writing solid, at times exemplary, songs and performing them with the verve and panache he has always exhibited in his work. This isn't his best hour but it's far from his worst. It's a workmanlike effort from a veteran rocker who is too driven, vital, and talented to seriously consider retiring. That should sit just fine with fans who have stuck with him this long, and they especially will be rewarded with a solid, credible, and honest project that plays to Lofgren's still considerable strengths.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/06/2011
Label: Vision Music
UPC: 0820761101620
catalogNumber: 1016
Rank: 98130

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nils Lofgren   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Vocals
Lou Gramm   Vocals
Paul Rodgers   Vocals
Jerry Donato   Saxophone
Gary Bruzzese   Drums,Hand Clapping
Sam Moore   Vocals
Mike King   Bass,Vocals
Todd Chuba   Drums,Vocals
Jamison Weddle   Vocals,Hand Clapping
Greg Varlotta   Percussion,Trombone,Trumpet
Mike Smith   Pedal Steel Guitar,Vocals
John Ramirez   Vocals,Hand Clapping

Technical Credits

Nils Lofgren   Composer,Producer
Root Boy Slim   Composer
Brian Christian   Producer
Bruce McCabe   Composer
Dick Bangham   Illustrations,Cover Photo
Otto D'Agnolo   Engineer
Jamison Weddle   Engineer
Linda Bangham   Illustrations,Cover Photo
Dylan Covington   Sculpture
John Ramirez   Engineer
Anson Smith   Management
Pat Glover   Engineer
Omar Ojeda   Cover Photo,Back Cover Photo,Inside Photo
Mark Hendrickson   Illustrations,Inside Photo
Andy Knoll   Engineer

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