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E Street Band’s Nils Lofgren talks ‘Blue With Lou,’ music career (Includes interview)

Blue With Lou is an all-new collection that features a dozen forceful songs, half of which were penned in collaboration with the late rock and guitar legend Lou Reed. “I finally have a new record that I am proud of,” Lofgren said. “We co-wrote six songs together and it is very exciting to have some new music and a tour coming out. I thought these 12 songs would make a great record.”

This marks Lofgren’s first studio release in eight years. Lofgren shared that he produced it with his wife, Amy, and it was recorded live at his home studio in Arizona with such longtime collaborators as Andy Newmark on drums, Kevin McCormick on bass, as well as Cindy Mizelle on the vocals; moreover, saxophone player Branford Marsalis is featured on the new recording of the Lofgren-Reed composition “City Lights.” “Cindy Mizelle did some great singing,” he said.

On his musical inspirations, Lofgren said, “I’ve been on the road 50 years as of last September. I have a wealth of ideas just from life. At 20 years old, you’ve had your heart broken once or twice, or you watch some of your friends get in trouble. I draw from anything and everything: life as I see it around me.”

“As a writer, I don’t have to write autobiographically all the time. I can take feelings and emotions and interject them into fictional characters to give the stories more weight and make them more dramatic at times. I try to keep it very authentic,” he explained.

Digital transformation of the music industry

On the impact of technology and streaming on the music business, Lofgren said, “I’m not a fan of the financial reasons. I don’t think the companies make deals that are fair to the musicians. It’s a format that people use to hear other things and getting exposed to other people’s music. I parted ways with the music business over 20 years ago. It is nice to remove the bureaucracy of the music business from what I do for a long time now. Amy does the merchandising and oversees the artwork and packaging.”

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Regarding the recent passage of the Music Modernization Act, Lofgren said, “That is a good start. It is just a start. They have a long way to go. My manager, Tom Goldfogle, was very supportive of that. We were happy to see that.”

He also noted that they have their double-vinyl edition of Blue With Lou in the works. “It will take a little longer than the CDs, but I am excited about that,” he said.

In 2014, Lofgren was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band. “That was very cool. It was a special night,” he said. “I also got inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall Of Fame and that was neat too.”

“It has been a rocky, beautiful ride,” he said about his music career. “I am honored to have new some music, and a beautiful home, wife, son, and dogs.”

When asked if guitar legend Link Wray was an influence on Lofgren growing up, he responded, “I saw Link Wray at my junior high school in an after-school concert that they had. It was stunning to hear that jagged, great black chord sound, which I know influenced so many people.”

Lofgren was also heavily influenced by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. “In the mid-’60s, we loved Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones but nobody thought that you could do that for a living,” he said.

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On May 19 and 20, Lofgren will be performing at City Winery in the heart of New York City.

He defined the word success as follows: “After 50 years, having a fabulous wife for life, as well as dogs and my son. Everyone is healthy and I am able to sing, play and create new music and share it with people.”

To learn more about Nils Lofgren of the E Street Band, check out his official website.

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