Bob Neuwirth

Look Up

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Bob Neuwirth's fourth solo album in 22 years is also his third of the 1990s, not counting his duet album with John Cale. Such a commitment to productivity has been good for him, and Look Up is one of his more professionally performed and identifiable releases. Having spent most of his career as a musical footnote, Neuwirth also has tended to sound like a sideman on his own records. Here, the usually large typically prominent supporting cast is on hand (for the record, it includes Patti Smith, Peter Case, Bernie Leadon, Butch Hancock, Elliott Murphy and Victoria Williams), but the spare, largely acoustic arrangements leave a lot of room for Neuwirth to make a vocal impression, and he does, even holding his own against Rosie Flores on the rocking "What's Our Love Comin' To." The music is very much in the folk/country singer-songwriter realm of Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, and Neuwirth proves himself worthy of the company with some clever originals and a wonderful cover of Nan O'Byrne's cock-eyed classic "Sweet and Shiny Eyes."

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