NEW ALBUM; "Love Etc..." October 2014
Lowlands are a roots-rock band, formed in Pavia, Italy by British born singer-songwriter Edward Abbiati. “Love etc.” is their sixth full length album release (the band also have three EPs and a handful of download-only live releases under their collective belt).
Like many other songwriters, Abbiati has constructed each of his band’s albums carefully, recording songs that felt as if they belonged together, while leaving others aside for another occasion, often re-writing those temporarily “benched” songs, before finding them a home.
Abbiati says: “Over the years a number of songs strongly connected to the topic of “love” were put aside. I guess I wasn’t brave enough to put them out at the time. Some of these songs, though, just wouldn’t let me be. They’d pop into my head when I picked up my guitar at home or I’d find myself humming them as I drove around…..looking at these songs afresh, I realised I had maybe half a record there – with a common theme of “Love”. Maybe it was time for me to fill in the gaps and give them all a home”.
In the meantime, life for Abbiati took its usual, tortuous course (as it does for all of us) – with ups and downs, twists and turns. Abbiati says: “Things got bad, then worse, relationships crumbled away painfully, friends died and the aftermath of these losses affected me as I was trying to finish up the album. What was intended to be a collection of out and out love songs started to be reshaped by loss and death, by rebirth and hope – by life. In a rare moment of honesty, I wrote the title song to the album: “Love etc.”, trying to capture all of these feelings and suddenly the rest of the songs came out and I had my album.”
Feeling that this collection of songs was different in nature to previous Lowlands collections, Abbiati decided that their presentation should also be different – a quieter sound that would allow listeners to either sit back from the songs or immerse themselves in them. Abbiati says: “From the beginning, I knew this would be a folk record – with a horn section or a marching band. I wanted to keep the songs as small as they are personal and as large as they are true.”
One cold morning in February 2014, Abbiati and guitarist Roberto “Roby” Diana went into a recording studio in Pavia and recorded acoustic demos for the album – 12 songs cut live with two acoustic guitars, no bass, no drums. Of those 12, 5 made the final record.
In the meantime, the band was rehearsing for an unplugged show at a theatre in Milan, which was to feature a full horn section. With 14 people onstage, this new folk-swing Lowlands lineup revisited many old songs in radically revised versions.
The very next day, Lowlands (Abbiati, Bonfiglio, Diana, Martini and Italy’s leading bass virtuoso, Antonio Rigo Righetti) went into the studio and, without having ever rehearsed them, played the new songs live with the “unplugged” feel of the Milan show. By evening, they had cut, with the rhythm section, the remaining 7 songs that make up the album.
The next few days saw overdubs of piano, organ, accordion, strings, horns, harmonica and mandolin – as well as backing vocals and handclaps, featuring (among others) Lowlands’ alumni Mike “Slo Mo” Brenner Alex Cambise and Richard Hunter; Andres Villani’s fine horn section and founding Lowlands members Simone Fratti and Stefano Speroni. David Henry from Nashville provided some beautiful string parts and amazing backing vocals were provided by Meaghan Kyle and Jess McDowell (of Philadelphia based vocal trio No Good Sister), as well as by Louise Abbiati and Betti Verri, from Pavia. Bringing it all back home, some cracking handclaps and percussion were provided by Edward’s daughters, Chiara and Sara.
Of the album, Abbiati says: “In these 12 songs, I tried to sing about love as involving both presence and absence, joy and sadness, hope and loss, with the sense of weakness and strength that love brings us as we make our way, every day, through life, through lies and hope, through lust and death and Love etc…”
"This records feels almost like it's from a different time which to me is very refreshing. It feels like a record from the 70's in that time before music got so narrowed by genre and sub genre and sub sub genre. The arrangements and the horns are really very very impressive and gives the album a weight and sense of purpose that really stands up well. It's the most fully realized Lowlands record to me, It's really a strong piece of work. " Rod Picott
"This album is fucking good. The best Lowlands yet? It’s a real good interesting record. I put it on the stereo as I drove away from Pavia: a beautiful day, huge clouds on a wide open sky and it really struck a chord with me. All of a sudden I realized how Edward writes these songs: they are so closely linked to the place he lives in. The joy of that first listen was... everything was so fresh. The experience with Ed and leaving the place where these songs were written, it touched me, it really touched me " Chris Cacavas
“Lowlands consistently amaze me with their shows, their spirit and tenacity. They are worthy of hard won praise and I’m honoured to have helped, even in small part, to make this incredible record. It has heart, soul and love (etc…!), coming out of every note" MG Boulter (The Lucky Strikes)
“Too folk to be soul, too soul to be folk. This is a perfect in-betweener, with some of the best songs you'll hear for a long time” Stiv Cantarelli
“Love Etc… is beautiful. Full of soul. It will wrap you with its interweaving of joy and melancholy on muted tones. It has class, heart, talent…culture " Marco Diamantini (Cheap Wine)