In January 1988, the duo began a weekly residency at The Breakaway in Venice, CA relying strictly on their two voices and acoustic guitars. They didn’t actively promote the shows or invite their music business friends. Yet within a year, crowds were growing and a buzz started that coincided with an emerging “Nu-Folk” scene in LA. By the end of 1989 they were recording their first album.
In 1990, their debut album, Walking On A Wire, was released by Chameleon Records to rave reviews. Produced by Jim Scott (BoDeans, Samples, Whiskeytown), the album built a radio base with the songs “Walking On A Wire” and “The Spell You’re Under”. They toured relentlessly and found responsive audiences nationwide, particularly in Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago, Minneapolis and Denver, cities that remain L&N strongholds to this day.
Three years later, Parachute-Mercury Records issued the lovely Broken Moon as the label’s inaugural relase. The disc was a hit at Triple-A radio with “All Is Quiet”, “Constant As The Night” and “Just To See You”. Months of touring followed, and with their fan base growing, Mercury purchased Walking On A Wire in 1994 and reissued it with three bonus tracks, including “Rapt In You”, another Triple-A hit.
They followed in 1995 with the enigmatic Pendulum, where their sound was honed to a fine edge by lean arrangements and a close vocal presence. It featured not only their own new songs but also collaborations with such greats as Jules Shear, Billy Steinberg and Gretchen Peters. Peters, a writer with several Top 10 Country tunes and a Grammy to her credit, helped pen “Cry”, a tune Dan describes as “a sad love song with a happy tempo.”
Signing with Intersound Records in 1997, they released Live Wire, a 1989 club performance that earned them their first press attention and two record deals, followed by Scratch At The Door in 1998. Self-produced, Scratch At The Door’s first single “When The Lights Go Down”, a wry ode to life in the middle lane, received significant national airplay.
They formed their own record company, Red Hen Records, and issued their second live collection, Live Radio, in 2002, consisting solely of in-studio performances from FolkScene, a public radio program hosted by Roz & Howard Larman on LA’s KPFK for over 30 years. Later that year, L&N released a holiday collection At Long Last…Christmas, featuring two L&N originals and eight classic carols.
Their finest hour may be their most recent release, All The Time In The World from 2004. Funded by contributions from their fervently loyal fan base, it features some of the loveliest writing by Eric and Dan yet, including “Compass Point”, “If I Was The Rain” and the sultry “Cold Outside”. The title track is the album’s sole outside song, written by Iowa-based singer-songwriter Dave Moore. During the recording of the album, Eric Lowen was diagnosed with the incurable neuromuscular disease ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The diagnosis lends an undeniable poignancy to the entire record, and has also led to the development of a number of ambitious projects all at once, planned for release over the next two years.
In June, 2006, AIX Records will release Carry On Together, a 12-song live DVD, shot with six high definition cameras and mixed in 5.1 surround sound as well as conventional stereo. The DVD will also include clips from two recent live concerts and a documentary-styled retrospective of L&N’s log and varied career. Advance orders are being taken on the AIX Records website.
In late summer 2006, Hogging The Covers, a CD of songs written by other writers, will be released on Red Hen Records. Featuring distinctive L&N versions of songs by Van Morrison, Gordon Lightfoot, The Left Banke, BoDeans, Rockpile, The Ramones, Sam & Dave, Dobie Gray and more, the album was recorded by producer John Whynot with the legendary Jim Keltner on drums (George Harrison, John Lennon, Leon Russell, Traveling Wilburies), Hutch Hutchinson on bass (Bonnie Raitt, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson) Phil Parlapiano and John Whynot on organ, piano and accordion, and Richard Dodd on cello.
More releases are planned for 2007, including TFA, a live in-studio affair, cut before a single stereo microphone, mimicking their trademark TFA encore (totally…acoustic), which dispenses with stage, sound system and stage lighting, performed from the middle of the audience. A riveting experience that at first quiets and subsequently energizes an audience to a roaring ovation, the album is expected to be as close to that experience as recording technology will allow.
It is through their live shows that Lowen & Navarro have built their greatest reputation. Accordingly, sometime in mid-2007, the Live Archive Series will be unveiled, making available the vast collection of L&N concert recordings, many for the first time. These recordings will convey to a new crop of listeners the warmth and energy that are the hallmarks of an L&N show.
Through the years, Lowen & Navarro continue to document humanity’s dignity and frailty, to examine life’s losses and lessons. Their songs are all conveyed with an urgency and immediacy that is the benchmark of their commitment to their music and their audience.