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Nick Lowe


  Nick Lowe sneaked a preview of his astonishing, shape-shifting solo career onto the cover of his debut album. Issued in early 1978, the practically self-titled Jesus of Cool (sadly rebranded Pure Pop for Now People for its American release) features six guitar-slingers outfitted as various musical-genre stereotypes: shaggy strummer, mod striper, country clasher, suave crooner. He's been all that and more, and after his umpteenth molting — from pub rocker to pre-punker, impersonated by Elvis (Costello) to abominable showman, cowboy junkie to the class-act lounge singer on Yep Roc LPs The Convincer (2001), Untouched Takeaway (2004) and At My Age (2007) — Lowe is relishing his current role as unheralded elder statesman. Silver-haired September release The Old Magic is every bit as clever as the title implies: Its sleights of hand feel anything but slight ("Let me love you, darling," he sings, "till the real thing comes along"), and its accidental wisdom betrays a musician for whom two takes is too many, whose money has come from other people singing his music, and who once deliberately wrote a bomb to get dropped from a label only to see it turn into a hit. It's a long kiss goodbye that might be his most charming come-on yet. The Autumn Defense opens. Tickets $30, $60 VIP. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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