Nick Lowe is a dynamic force who's been gusting through popular music, albeit in an often understated way, for 30-odd years. He was a pub-rock pioneer, initially with Brinsley Schwarz and later with Rockpile, the band he co-led with Dave Edmunds. As a producer and co-founder of Stiff Records, he helped ignite the punk and new-wave movements, working with the likes of Elvis Costello, the Damned, and the Pretenders. And through it all Lowe has been a brilliantly idiosyncratic—even erudite—songwriter, responsible for such nuggets as "What's So Funny 'Bout (Peace, Love and Understanding)" and "Cruel to Be Kind," wandering through pub-influenced rock, pop, country, and soul. Although hardly ancient at 58, Lowe dubbed his latest At My Age (Yep Roc), which turns out to be quite spry. It's heavy on country and soul flavored ballads, with Lowe crooning amid judicious horns and tasty arrangements, while plum melodies blossom alongside wry wordplay. Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, who will open, is another accomplished songsmith who matches delicious pop-folk melodies with keen observations about life and love. Last year's Time Being (Ironworks), produced by Mitchell Froom, is the latest in a string of strong albums.
Sat., Sept. 29, 9 p.m., 2007