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Live Radio

Lowen & Navarro

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Album Review

After unhappy stints at several record labels, the Los Angeles singer/songwriter duo Lowen & Navarro have subsided to their own imprint for this, their sixth overall album, Live Radio. The disc is culled from Eric Lowen and Dan Navarro's four appearances on Roz and Howard Larman's L.A. public radio show FolkScene in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 1999, and it allows them to return to the two-acoustic-guitars, two-part-harmonies style that they honed in gigs around L.A. in the 1980s; it's their "unplugged" album. For old-time fans, that should be welcome. On Lowen & Navarro's last couple of studio albums, Pendulum (1995) and Scratch at the Door (1998), they turned to more of a rocking style, while this stripped-down approach puts their songs front and center. It also allows them to reclaim for their own material featured on those albums and on the earlier Broken Moon (1993), making it something of a successor to Live Wire (1997), the archival album drawn from one of their 1989 club dates. There are no interview segments here, no spoken words except a count-in, so the effect is of a continuous musical performance in which the two often alternate lead vocals by song and sometimes by verse, then sing the choruses together, Lowen's tenor soaring over Navarro's deeper, gruffer voice. There are articulate love songs and poetic reflections on life's travails, all with delicate, detailed guitar playing and catchy choruses. The two may not have given up the search for a rock & roll hit — they make a point of taking issue with the idea that their music is "folk" in the strict sense in the brief liner notes — but this album suggests that they may have found their level and, perhaps, may earn a loyal audience by presenting their music in an unadorned way.


Formed: 1987

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The Los Angeles-based writing and performing duo of singer/songwriter/guitarists Eric Lowen (born October 23, 1951; died March 23, 2012) and Dan Navarro (born September 14, 1952) was formed in 1987, although the two met a decade earlier. They were both singing waiters in a restaurant in West Hollywood in 1978; then they were members of a local band, Bon Mot, and began writing songs together. They first gained recognition when Pat Benatar featured their song "We Belong" (on which Lowen was identified...
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