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Nick Lowe, Geraint Watkins

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Years ago people used to call Nick Lowe "Basher"--he had a reputation as a fellow who liked to play hard, drink hard, and get his business in the studio over with quick. But then Curtis Stigers covered his tune "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" on the Bodyguard sound track, which would eventually sell 17 million copies, and, as Lowe is wont to joke, the Brinks truck pulled up to his house and started dropping off bags of money. He's worked at a more relaxed pace since, turning out an understated pop masterpiece every three or four years, and on the cover of his latest, 2001's The Convincer (Yep Roc), he certainly looks the part of a gentleman of leisure: immaculately tailored suit, elegant silver coif, cocktail-hour grin. Lowe's current stateside tour is a makeup for dates canceled after 9/11, and he's also selling a new live CD, Untouched Takeaway, at concerts and through nicklowe.net. The other goal of the trip is to introduce audiences to his longtime sideman Geraint Watkins, who's playing opening sets as well as backing Lowe. The Welsh-born Watkins is a minor pub-rock legend who's played piano and accordion for Van Morrison and Paul McCartney, among others. His latest effort, Dial 'W' for Watkins (Yep Roc), is a beguiling and bizarre collection that combines country pluck, Cajun stomp, and rich blue-eyed soul; he tops off the 13 originals with a wild Louis Prima-style scat reading of the Beach Boys' "Heroes and Villains." This show is sold-out. Saturday, September 11, 7:30 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln; 773-728-6000.

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