Nils Lofgren Keeps Climbing
E Street Band Hall of Famer, Crazy Horse member and prolific solo artist, Nils Lofgren recently released his latest album, Mountains and fans and critics alike are saying it may be the best of his impressive 50-year catalog.
Written and recorded mostly at his home in Scottsdale, AZ, and producted by Nils and his wife Amy, Mountains includes guest appearances by Ringo Starr, Neil Young, Cindy Mizelle, Ron Carter, the Howard Gospel Choir, and the late David Crosby.
Traditionally Lofgren’s creative process regarding albums has been slow and deliberate and might take years. With Mountains, Nils changed the rules for himself, letting his feelings, frustrations and emotions pour, allowing himself to “just write whatever came out”.
The power unleashed via this free rein is no more evident than in the single, Ain't the Truth Enough, written in the wake of January 6th through the eyes of a fierce, loving mother and wife confronting a husband just home from the insurrection.
The song’s deep groove is delivered compliments of Beatles engine, Ringo Starr, top session and touring bassist, Kevin McCormick and the soulful vocals of the great Cindy Mizelle. Nils gutsy guitar-work is inspired and captivating as always, particularly the searing lap steel that scorches its way through the track evoking the spirits of both David Lindley and Neil Young bandmate, Ben Keith.
In the accompanying Ain't the Truth Enough video we are treated to Ringo the drummer and are duly reminded who he is, and why. The presence of Cindy, Kevin and of course Nils make the video even more reason to experience the track again and again.
Anyone halfway familiar with the life and times of Nil’s Lofgren knows that prior to establishing his prolific solo career and 39-year stint as lead guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, that at the tender age of 17, Nils had already been invited to join Neil Young’s backup band, Crazy Horse, and by 18, recorded guitar, piano and vocals on Neil’s now classic, After the Gold Rush.
But only recently did we learn that that just prior to all of this, Lofgren had been a homeless runaway in NYC’s Greenwich Village with a pocketful of yard mowing money and a teenager’s faith that he could make a living playing music.
We only know this because Nils tells us so in the first few chapters of his autobiographical video series, Rockality, where, by way of casual, unrehearsed narrative, Nil’s recounts in fascinating detail his epic, true-to-life odyssey which promises to make the fictitious adventures of Forrest Gump seem downright uneventful.
Nil’s, who has been playing Takamine guitars since joining Bruce in 1984 splits his acoustic duties between 3 models; the NEX sized Koa EF508KC and the slightly smaller FXC bodied EF261S-AN, both from Tak’s Legacy Series and a circa 1996 PT508 that has remained a favorite. Also working the E Street stage this summer, a TSP158C-12-SBL from Takamine’s popular Thinline Series.
Photo by Jan Lundhal