Music review of Nils Lofgren’s ‘Old School’

December 2, 2011

It’s no wonder that Nils Lofgren — guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, underrated solo artist and sometime Montgomery County resident — has mortality on his mind. He recently turned 60, had both hips replaced and lost two bandmates, Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons, to whom his first album of new material in five years is dedicated.

Alternately rueful and upbeat, “Old School” spotlights midlife crisis anthems (“60 Is the New 18”), get-off-my-lawn rockers (the title track) and graceful, just short of gloomy ballads (“Miss You Ray”).

(Courtesy of Vision Records)

“Old School” sounds like a distant musical relative of “Born in the U.S.A.,” with a similar mix of barroom rave-ups and R&B-spiked rock, although it can feel excessively nostalgic.

Not helping: cameos from classic rock stalwarts such as Foreigner’s Lou Gramm, Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers and Sam and Dave’s Sam Moore, who shows up for the self-explanatory rave-up “Ain’t Too Many of Us Left.”

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