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April 2, 2012 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Eric Lowen, of Lowen and Navarro, passed away last week after battling ALS for 8 years. You've probably heard their songs, in one form or another, over the years.

From the NYT obit:
Mr. Lowen, whose first marriage ended in divorce, is survived by his wife, Kim Ferguson; a brother, Neal; a sister, Karen George, known as Kai; two children, Samuel and Annie-Claire, who are twins; and three stepchildren, Thomas, Katelyn and Hayley Ferguson, triplets who are the same age, 18, as their step-siblings.
There is much more on youtube.
posted by gjc (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I used to go see Lowen & Navarro play while I was in college. Mostly bars & coffeehouses, early '90s, in southwestern Virginia.

. for Eric Lowen. Time to cue up "Walking on a Wire."
posted by sobell at 9:13 PM on April 2, 2012


Man, I have one of their cds sitting right here, for some reason.

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posted by tzikeh at 9:18 PM on April 2, 2012


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posted by Wordwoman at 9:25 PM on April 2, 2012


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posted by jabberjaw at 9:50 PM on April 2, 2012


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I love that We Belong song.

I wonder what the story is behind the twins and triplets. Maybe they met at a single parents of multiples group.

This is his last performance, complete with six kids.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 10:26 PM on April 2, 2012


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posted by humanfont at 2:00 AM on April 3, 2012


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WHFS used to play their songs pretty regularly. . for HFS also.
posted by newdaddy at 3:48 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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That sucks. I worked at a camping/clothing/military surplus store in Annapolis during the mid 90s. I would always know it was spring when both Lowen and Navarro, would come in for their annual trek in while they were playing the Rams Head, to stock up on cheap plain tees and cheap jeans.
Always such nice and friendly guys.
posted by ShawnString at 5:43 AM on April 3, 2012


I had never heard of these guys until a few months ago when Dan Navarro's touring agent asked if we wanted to book a show for him. He is doing lots of cool stuff including voice over singing for TV and Film. Sorry to hear about Lowen.
posted by kenaldo at 11:36 AM on April 3, 2012


I got started on them by a combination of HFS and my high school theatre teacher, who'd also picked them up from HFS and developed a personal friendship with them as an early NoVA fan. I saw them at the Birchmere a bunch, then a few times when we were living in Michigan, then one last time in Fresno. Dan was more my guy than Eric - he always remembered me and remembered that I had been my theatre teacher's student - and I'll admit I've always had a bit of a crush on him.

One time in the late 90s, I was sitting in (late, lamented) Whitey's Bar and Grill in Arlington, and an L&N song came on the jukebox. I was pretty damn familiar with that jukebox, and I knew it didn't have L&N in it, so I jumped up to figure out what was going on. It turned out that someone had snuck _Walking On a Wire_ into the slot for which the cover was a John Cougar Mellencamp CD. I found out that this was an open secret at Whitey's - someone on staff had put the disc in to try to get the guys more exposure, and because the cover was JCM, it got played frequently (which it probably wouldn't have as much had it had the right cover).

Anyway, these guys, together, were not only a goosebump-raising pair of harmonizers, they were also hilarious. (The version of "We Belong" linked on "songs" above has a little glimpse of it.) Their live show was so much more of a collection of songs, because in between their heartfelt and emotional compositions, they would snipe bitterly at each other and engage in merciless self-deprecation. It kept things see-sawing in a really engaging way.

One of their trademark moves was to close the show with a version of "We Belong" done TFA ("totally fucking acoustic") in which they would walk out into the middle of the audience and do the song with a bunch of bits of covers laced into the song. The place would go dead silent and be totally in their thrall. It was amazing, no matter how many times I saw them do it. There's a nice version of it on 3 For The Road.

The last time I saw them live (not counting web concerts) in Fresno was after Eric's diagnosis with ALS and my diagnosis with ME/CFS. I was edging toward not being able to work any more just as he was edging toward not being able to play, but I hoped our diseases would be kind to both of us. He got more years out than I had feared he might, but it's so desperately unfair that he's gone so soon. After that last show, el_lupino said to me, "I was really struck by how his physical limitations have changed his guitar playing. Not to say that he ever overplayed, but it seems to have focused his guitar playing in an interesting way." He was right - Eric, as always, was making almost inhuman beauty out of his humanity.

. Lots of them. And if you even halfway like any of those tracks above, I'd start in this order: Walking on a Wire, Broken Moon, Pendulum, and Hogging the Covers. So many great tracks among those. It's a tragedy these guys aren't better known.
posted by jocelmeow at 12:12 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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