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Jez Lowe with the Bad Pennies
Live at the Davy Lamp
Tantobie Records/ Lowe Life Music (

Jez Lowe: Photo Alan Graves
Photo: Alan Graves
Originally from Durham in the north of England, Jez Lowe is known for his songs about the heroism of everyday life. Lowe is able to find the profound in the ordinary as he tells the story of life in the industrial north of England. As a contemporary songwriter, Lowe is often mentioned in the same breath with Richard Thompson, and his songs have been covered by a variety of performers. His career has included both solo work and stints as the leader of his band, The Bad Pennies. He has recorded somewhere around a dozen albums, in both incarnations.

"These Coal Town Days"
This double CD is a live recording of two generous sets of material. The 22 songs span two decades of Lowe's writing. Recorded on home turf, the band includes Lowe (harmonica, cittern, guitar), Judy Dinning (keyboards, percussion, vocals), Simon Haworth (mandolin, bass, keyboards, vocals), Billy Surgeoner (fiddle, whistle, keyboards, vocals) and guest Jake Walton (hurdy-gurdy) on four tracks. Lowe does most of the vocals, but there are also several lead vocals performed by Judy Dinning. Lowe has a distinct, at times understated delivery that puts the focus on the lyrics.

The Bad Pennies operate as a cohesive band, not just a backing group. Their vocal interaction on "These Coal Town Days" shows their depth of experience together. Tracks included on Live include staples of Lowe's concerts, such as "The Soda Man," "Just like Moses," "Old Bones" and "Back in Durham Gaol." There is a minimum of the applause and long introductions that often make a live recording tiresome, leaving the listener with fine singing, a dandy band and a heap of great songs. - Ivan Emke

Audio: "The Coal Town Days"
©2000 Tantobie Records/ Lowe Life Music, Used by permission
CD available at

Other Jez Lowe recordings are available at

Photo ©2000 Alan Graves

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