Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow ****
Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack and Andy Fairweather Low’s first public performance was in a London pub in 2015. Since then they’ve only played a handful of dates, yet they sound like they’ve been picking and harmonising together all their lives. Lowe’s oaky croon, Carrack’s soulful burr and Fairweather Low’s unique, teeth-gritted whine – the group’s resident jester, he even treated the audience to a light-hearted lesson in how to mimic him – blended beautifully.
The simple concept behind this unassuming acoustic super-group is to cover songs, traditional country songs mostly, they all adore. You can’t perform this material with such warmth, humour and grace if you don’t love it inside out.
That affection was fed back by the crowd, who sang along to honeyed versions of American folk standard Goodnight, Irene, Buck Owens’ Crying Time, Don Gibson’s Sea of Heartbreak and Bobby Darin’s Things. Who knew that the latter had a hidden Nashville core?
The set also included occasional detours into the trio’s estimable back catalogue. Lowe’s Cruel to Be Kind and Fairweather Low/Amen Corner’s Bend Me, Shape Me were particular highlights – in acoustic form, the guitar riff from the latter bears surprising traces of Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane.
An intimate triumph, this heartfelt celebration of pop and country standards was an object lesson in how to grow old gracefully.