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JASON LOWE - BIOGRAPHY 2009 - GREY CAP TIMES
By Nick Milligan
"Jason is a fine troubadour who writes memorable songs and delivers them with sincerity and grace. It was a pleasure sharing a stage with him on my last Australian tour."
- Eric Bibb
With his musical depth and drifter's spirit, Jason Lowe sounds a lot older than 20 years of age. Performing evocative ballads that are wide-eyed and weathered in equal measure, the burgeoning talent has now emerged from the studio with a debut album - Grey Cap Times.
There's a lot of worldliness in Grey Cap Times. Where other songwriters might have locked themselves in a cupboard and strummed in solitude, Lowe chose to wander landscapes far and wide, gleaning ideas from his shifting environment. Realising that expanding his horizons would be integral to his growth as a songwriter, Lowe travelled to America, with no plan beyond the booking of his return flight.
"I just needed to go," enthuses Lowe, about his overseas voyage. "Instinctively, I knew my spirit would gain a great deal. It was a quest for that experience - for some more essential growth and wisdom. I had envisioned what may happen, and the way it unfolded was that and more. The songs I wrote in America were just a bonus. From desert to evergreen, mountain to stream, I was finding home..."
Upon his return to Australia, the young singer was touched, profoundly, by the autobiography of the legend Woody Guthrie. The life of the man who epitomised the wandering troubador, only strengthened Lowe's belief that he was on his true path.
While many young songwriters pine about their carnal woes, Lowe's focus is the plight of our planet. The musician feels a deep connection with the wilderness, stating simply that his "religion is nature". Lowe's earthy vocals and elegant instrumention make Grey Cap Times, a richly rewarding and emotionally captivating experience.
The title of Grey Cap Times, shares its name with an epic poem that Lowe wrote in mid-2008. Channeling his inspiration from the ether, the work poured from him during one intense evening. For Lowe, it was a creative turning point, as he had finally found his voice and realised his capabilities as a lyricist.
"'Grey Cap Times' really was a cosmic heave in a true direction. One sombre night it came - three pages straight down. I didn't even know what I was writing about - that's the way they happen sometimes. It overwhelms you, possesses you in a way, then you snap out and you've got
it. It's magic, alright," says Lowe.
The poem 'Grey Cap Times' taught the blossoming songsmith not to take any line of lyric for granted. Subsequently, the words that waft throughout his stirring debut record are each loaded with a world of meaning, like tiny planets orbiting Lowe's creative star. With engineering assistance from guitar virtuoso Adam Miller, the Newcastle-based musician has created a timeless collection of folk songs, all resonating with a restless perception that gazes onward with gentle resilience.
"The roots of the songs stem at first from a deep connection to the natural world - to the realm of existence. That core acts as a spiritual guidance throughout all I do. But the songs also celebrate and capture my surroundings, my feelings in those surroundings, my experiences, things that just needed to be said, things I was learning, folks I met, folks that passed on, what once was, what is no more, and what could be. They are songs from quests really, just as any songs I write will always be," says Lowe, emphatically.
With performances at the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival and support slots with the likes of Eric Bibb and Jeff Martin, critical and public acclaim has not taken long to find Jason Lowe (his independent debut EP, Before We Chase The Sky, garnered rave reviews). Grey Cap Times is the writer's invitation to you - book a return ticket and see the world with fresh eyes.
Grey Cap Times is out now through ABC Music.