Lowen & Navarro

Carry on Together...

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Particularly in this "Collectors Edition," Lowen & Navarro's Carry on Together... is a lavish audio-video package of a type usually devoted only to musicians far more popular than this veteran folk-pop duo. The set, partially intended as a showcase for the high-tech capabilities of AIX Records, which issued it, consists of two double-sided discs, one a DVD containing three and half hours of video material in different formats, the other the audio for the 12-song live-in-the-studio concert that is the essential part of collection, in standard CD form on one side and DVD audio on the other. The video DVD has an "interactive" side beginning with the concert (shot in HD and 5.1 Surround Sound), which mixes songs from Lowen & Navarro's most recent album, All the Time in the World, with a few older tunes dating back to their 1990 debut, Walking on a Wire, and also including extensive interview and biographical material, old promotional videos, and excerpts from concerts and recording sessions in what is, in effect, an elaborate EPK (the industry term for an "electronic press kit"). The DVD also has a "linear" side in which the features on the "interactive" side (plus some extra interview footage) have been edited into a two-hour documentary film. While it helps to encounter this combination of biography, concert, and video scrapbook as a fan of Lowen & Navarro already, it would be hard even for someone who didn't know about them beforehand not to be drawn into their story, a star-crossed one of journeymen singer/songwriters who had some early success (they wrote Pat Benatar's Top Five hit "We Belong"), but also a lot of struggle in the record industry, all the while writing and singing a collection of appealing, acoustic-based songs. Having found a steady audience on the folk music circuit, they suffered a final blow when Eric Lowen was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease on St. Patrick's Day, 2004. That also may have been an impetus for this package, an attempt to create an authoritative audio-video record of Lowen & Navarro while it was still possible to do so, since the incurable disease gradually leads to paralysis. The studio concert, filmed in July 2005, finds Lowen still able to sing and play well, and in the interview material he shows remarkable matter-of-factness in discussing his illness. Dan Navarro, meanwhile, comes off as a savvy observer of and participant in the music industry of the 1980s and ‘90s, such that the discussion of the duo's career provides insight into the way the business worked in those years. Ultimately, however, they come off as a talented team of writer/performers with their own distinctive style, one that finds its apotheosis here.

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