A biography of singer-songwriter Nick Lowe, best-known for "Cruel to Be Kind" and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" Described as "Britain's greatest living songwriter," Lowe has made his mark as a pioneer of pub rock, power-pop, and punk rock and as a producer of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, The Damned, and The Pretenders.
... entertaining ... Like Mr. Lowe, Will Birch is a pub-rock veteran and ex-producer. He is casually expert in the way of those rare music writers who can both play music and write, and his account of life on the road is brutally and comically frank. He likes his subject as a friend, but then, it’s hard not to like a legend who, hearing he’s been offered a spot at a jazz festival in west London, says, 'Lovely . . . I can get there on the bus.'
Birch’s book respects this story with a flood of quotes, even as he wisely resists philosophizing. He makes two key decisions that boost the narrative considerably, but only near the end: he siphons a lot of Lowe family prehistory (grandparents and the like) into an appendix. This plunges readers straight into the music without fussing over dusty birth certificates and census data. Then he channels music critic Peter Silverton for his own choice insights ... Birch slings plenty of Lowe quotes too, many of them howlers.
... conversational, somewhat authorized ... all the more engaging for being about a talented and charming man who has quietly left an indelible mark on the world of contemporary music ... An enjoyable and personal look at a cult hero who is more working artist than rock star.